Earthquakes

Wondolowski's goal helps pace Team USA to win at Cuba

wondo-usa.jpg
AP

Wondolowski's goal helps pace Team USA to win at Cuba

Chris Wondolowski and Julian Green scored second-half goals, lifting the United States to a 2-0 victory Friday over Cuba in its first exhibition game in 69 years at the Caribbean island nation.

The U.S. started nine players who likely will be on the field for next month's World Cup qualifier against Mexico. The 22nd-ranked Americans struggled to mount attacks in the first half against No. 139 Cuba, hampered by a bumpy field at Havana's Estadio Pedro Marrero that had brown patches, but still extended their winning streak to three.

A 21-year-old making his first start in more than two years, Green created the first goal when he took a shot that was parried by goalkeeper Sandy Sanchez. The rebound went to Wondolowski, who scored with a right-footed shot from 8 yards in the 62nd minute. Wondowloski's 11th international goal was his first since July 2015 against Guatemala.

Wondolowski, who entered at the start of the second half, passed across the goal nine minutes later, and Green redirected the ball into the net. Green, who has struggled to gain playing time at Bayern Munich, scored his only other international goal against Belgium at the 2014 World Cup.

With regular goalkeepers Tim Howard and Brad Guzan given the game off, Ethan Horvath made his international debut and got the shutout. At 21 years, 120 days, he became the youngest goalkeeper to debut for the U.S. since Zach Thornton was a substitute in a 3-0 win over Trinidad and Tobago on Nov. 22, 1994.

Maykel Reyes and Roberney Caballero hit posts for Cuba in the second half.

The U.S., which relied on long passes to avoid the challenging surface, improved to 10-1-1 against Cuba but this was just its third match in Cuba following a 1947 exhibition and a 2008 World Cup qualifier. The Americans play New Zealand on Tuesday at Washington, D.C., in another exhibition to prepare for the final round of World Cup qualifying in North and Central America and the Caribbean. They open the hexagonal Nov. 11 against Mexico in Columbus, Ohio, then play four days later at Costa Rica.

Horvath, who is from Highlands Ranch, Colorado, plays for Molde in Norway and was part of the U.S. under-23 team that failed to qualify for this year's Olympics.

U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann inserted three other players who didn't start in last month's qualifying win over Trinidad. Right back DeAndre Yedlin returned from a one-game suspension, central defender John Brooks recovered from a back injury and Green filled an opening created by Alejandro Bedoya's strained rib muscle.

Geoff Cameron was paired with Brooks in central defense, and Fabian Johnson was at left back. Michael Bradley, Sacha Kljestan and 18-year-old Christian Pulisic were in the midfield, and Jozy Altidore and Bobby Wood headed the attack.

Notes: ESPN broadcasters Ian Darke and Taylor Twellman announced the game from a studio in Bristol, Connecticut, rather than from the stadium.

Behind teenage phenom, France win second World Cup title

franceap.jpg
AP

Behind teenage phenom, France win second World Cup title

MOSCOW — Kylian Mbappe and France put on a thrilling show in winning the World Cup title. All Russian President Vladimir Putin might remember is the Pussy Riot protest.

The 19-year-old Mbappe became only the second teenager after Pele to score in a World Cup final, helping France beat Croatia 4-2 on Sunday.

Mbappe had just shown his electrifying speed in the 52nd minute when play was held up by four protesters who ran onto the field in the second half. Russian punk band Pussy Riot later took credit for the incident — watched from the VIP seats by Putin, whose government once jailed members of the activist group.

About 12 minutes after play resumed, Mbappe sent a right-footed shot past Croatia goalkeeper Danijel Subasic.

The only other teen to score in a World Cup final was Pele, who was 17 when Brazil beat Sweden 5-2 in 1958.

Mbappe, who plays for Paris Saint-Germain in the French league, was born months after France first won its only other World Cup title in 1998.

Putin was later on the field during a downpour to award medals to the players. FIFA president Gianni Infantino then handed France captain Hugo Lloris the World Cup trophy.

Paul Pogba and Antoine Griezmann, France’s two other key players, also scored at the Luzhniki Stadium.

But it was Mbappe who put the match out of reach with a furious passage of play in the second half. In the 59th, a run from Mbappe started a play that ended up with Pogba on the edge of the penalty area. With his second attempt, the midfielder curled his shot beyond Subasic.

Mbappe then scored himself, his fourth of the tournament, to make it 4-1.

Griezmann scored from the penalty spot in the 38th minute after a video review. About four minutes after his corner kick was knocked out of play, the referee ruled Ivan Perisic had handled the ball on the way.

France took the lead in the 18th when Croatia’s tallest outfield player, 1.90-meter (6-foot-3) forward Mario Mandzukic, rose to meet Griezmann’s free kick with the top of his head. He inadvertently sent it past his own goalkeeper.

Perisic and Mandzukic both scored for Croatia, first to equalize in the 28th minute and later as a consolation goal in the 69th, embarrassing Lloris with a flicked shot as the France goalkeeper tried to dribble the ball out of his goalmouth.

France coach Didier Deschamps became only the third man to win the World Cup as a player and a coach. Mario Zagallo of Brazil and Franz Beckenbauer of Germany are the others.

Quakes fall to Impact for second straight loss

quakesusatsi.jpg
USATSI

Quakes fall to Impact for second straight loss

BOX SCORE

MONTREAL -- Saphir Taider and Ignacio Piatti scored as the Montreal Impact cruised to a 2-0 victory over the San Jose Earthquakes on Saturday night.

Evan Bush had two saves to earn his seventh clean sheet of the season for Montreal (9-12-0), which extended its winning streak at home to five games.

Montreal bounced back after a 3-0 loss in New York on Wednesday. It was the Impact's fifth win in the past six games.

The Earthquakes (2-11-6) are now winless in their last 10 matches (0-6-4) dating back to May 12.

Taider gave Montreal the lead in the eighth minute. The 26-year-old got a pass from Piatti in the box and settled the bouncing ball with his right foot before firing a shot into the corner of the net with his left. San Jose defender Shea Salinas gave Taider too much space on the play and the Impact midfielder made the visitors pay with his fourth goal of the season.

Piatti sealed the win with his 10th goal of the year in the 74th minute.

Tensions were high between Earthquakes coach Mikael Stahre and a few of his players. Stahre removed starter Anibal Godoy from the game in the 41st minute. Godoy, with no apparent injury, walked straight to the dressing room. His replacement, Fatai Alashe, played four minutes before being subbed off at halftime. Alashe and Stahre got into a screaming match on the sideline.