Gold Cup report card: US men's soccer finishes strong after rocky start

Published: Sunday, July 14 2013 12:49 a.m. MDT

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Starters: Kyle Beckerman, Joe Corona, Stuart Holden and Brek Shea

Substitutes: José Torres (45' replaces Shea) and Mix Diskerud (58' replaces Holden)

The midfield also had a strong showing against Cuba. Joe Carona and Kyle Beckerman played the full 90 minutes for the U.S. side, and deservedly so.

Carona was a main contributor to the United States offense throughout the game with several scoring chances and near assists. Corona finally found the back of the net for his first ever U.S. soccer goal in the 57th minute of play when a poor clearance by a Cuban defender dropped the ball at Corona's feet just outside the area. He one-timed it, beating the Cuban keeper Odelín Molina.

Kyle Beckerman, playing an international game in front of his home crowd at Rio Tinto, was a solid defensive midfielder and and facilitated several plays. On one of those occasions, he had a brilliant assist to Chris Wondolowski when he chipped the ball near post.

The two substitutions in the midfield were game-changers. Jose Torres and Mix Diskerud brought energy and intensity off the bench. These two substitutes contributed massively to the turnaround the United States poised in the second half. Diskerud had a spring in his step and cut the Cuban defense apart. Although he might be barely noticeable on a stat sheet, his energy put the defense on its heels.

Grade: B+
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