Amidst all the college football and pennant race baseball Saturday, the U.S. men's soccer team claimed a pretty important 1-0 win in Havana, Cuba in a 2010 World Cup qualifier. Clint Dempsey scored the game's only goal in the 40th minute on a long ball played into the box that knocked off a Cuban defender and was settled by Brian Ching who fed the Fulham-man.
Overall, it was probably 90 minutes of forgettable soccer and would barely warrant a blip on the mainstream radar if not for that Castro fellow and a certain government embargo. Saturday's game wasn't, however, about the Bay of Pigs or Elian Gonzalez for the U.S. It was about getting three points -- which they did, thanks to a 87th minute fingertip save by keeper Tim Howard.
Again, coach Bob Bradley opted for a conservative 4-4-2 approach and according the game yielded few clear chances for either side, not that you could tell from the abysmal lighting at the field from the ESPN broadcast. The game was aired on ESPN Classic, but probably doesn't warrant another showing on the network any time soon.
The U.S. returns to action Wednesday night in Chicago against Trinidad & Tobago, which conceded a last minute goal at home against Guatemala earlier Saturday. The U.S. leads the CONCACAF group with six points, followed by Trinidad with four, Guatemala one and Cuba 0. A win Tuesday pretty much books a space in the final stage of qualification, which begins next year.