SANDY, Utah (Sporting Alert) — A confident United States team takes on Cuba in a 2013 CONCACAF Gold Cup Group C game at Rio Tinto Stadium on Saturday.
USA hammered Belize 6-1 in their Gold Cup opener in Portland, on Tuesday night with striker Chris Wondolowski scoring a hat-trick and attacker Landon Donovan also getting amongst the goals in the victory.
Following that win, the hosts not turn their focus on a tricky tie with Cuba and former team captain Donovan, who is back in the side and rounding back into form, is looking forward to the clash.
Donovan only recently received a recall to the national setup for the Gold Cup by head coach Jurgen Klinsmann, who admits to be impressed with the way the Los Angeles Galaxy star adjusted on his return to the squad.
“He came back in this group, he’s very comfortable and he picks up the rhythm of the group,” Klinsmann said.
“It helps us obviously with his two recent games to get a good rhythm, get confidence for the entire group knowing every game gets more and more difficult.”
Donovan’s performance against Belize and indeed his outing against Guatemala in a friendly game before the tournament, leave several pundits and supports thinking that he’s ready to put pressure on everyone for a starting place again in the team once the CONCACAF World Cup qualifiers pick back up again.
However, he doesn’t sees it that way.
“I don’t view it that way,” Donovan said. “I think all the guys here view it as an opportunity to further their national team careers.
“In an obvious sense it means being part of the qualifiers coming up and in the bigger scheme it means furthering your chances to be a part of the World Cup team.”
The United States leads Group C after the opening game.
Cuba, in the meantime, are without a point in Group C after losing to Costa Rica in their opening contest.
The Caribbean champs blamed fatigue for their defeat in the first game, but promised to be ready to take on USA.
“I think what also affected us in the first match was that we arrived too close to the game so we were tired,” Cuban defender Jorge Luis Clavelo said.
“I think for this match we need more movement tactically and take advantage of any opportunity that we get so that we can score.”