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Wynalda feels at home in 3-0 triumph over Cuba. Wegerle, Moore also score in Gold Cup victory.

OAKLAND (Sunday, February 1, 1998) -- Hometown hero Eric Wynalda scored one goal, assisted on another, hit the crossbar and had a goal called back as the United States used three second-half goals to defeat Cuba 3-0 in the first round Group 3 match in the CONCACAF Gold Cup in front of 11,234 fans at the Oakland Coliseum.

Forward Roy Wegerle tallied his fourth goal in his last three games as he and Wynalda scored within a three-minute span early in the second half to break a scoreless tie.

Joe-Max Moore added a penalty-kick goal in the 76th minute to finish the scoring in the first meeting between the two nations in 49 years.

"It was a match we controlled 90 percent of," said U.S. coach Steve Sampson. "We scored three goals. But we lacked precision and good timing."

Wegerle's goal came in the 55th minute, the product of a sequence started by defender Frankie Hejduk who headed the ball into the middle of the field at the top of the penalty box. Wynalda flicked it to Wegerle, who had a straight shot into the net.

Wynalda, who plays for the nearby San Jose Clash of Major League Soccer, had an apparent goal disallowed in fifth minute. He followed Wegerle’s tally by making the score 2-0 in the 58th minute. Cuba goalkeeper Alexi Reve-Aviles came out to challenge midfielder Cobi Jones, who chipped it over him into the box. Wynalda finished with an easy shot into an open net.

Wynalda, teaming with Wegerle for the first time up front under Sampson, was back in his familiar striker position after playing the last match in the flank midfield.

"He worked very hard in training and deserved to start up front," said Sampson. "However, I would feel equally comfortable playing him at the front or in the midfield."

Cuba had a chance to take the lead in the 53rd minute, but American keeper Brad Friedel tipped Ariel Alvarez-Leyva's shot against the crossbar.

The United States controlled the ball for most of the first half, but had nothing to show for it except a few close calls. Wynalda's goal five minutes into the match was disallowed when he was ruled offside, a call replays should to be wrong. Clearly, Wegerle had passed the ball slightly behind himself.

"I think that goal that was called back affected us for 15 minutes or so," said Sampson. "It was a great goal. The precision of the pass was something that we worked on all week and the official’s call was a grave error."

Moore had a free kick that went over the bar, and Jones missed a header wide right. Late in the first half, Cuba’s best attempt produced nothing as Eduardo Cebranco, one-on-one with Friedel, shot wide right.

"The major impact of the game was to show Cuban soccer how much it needs to improve in the next few years," said Cuba coach William Bennett.

The U.S. has not lost in its last seven matches, dating back to a 1-0 loss to Ecuador in Baltimore on August 7.

Earlier, Stern John scored twice to lead Trinidad & Tobago to a 3-1 Group 2 victory over Honduras. At the Los Angeles Coliseum, El Salvador and Guatemala played to a scoreless tie in a first-round Group 1 match before 26,391.

United States 3, Cuba 0

Lineups: USA - Brad Friedel, Mike Burns, Gregg Berhalter (Thomas Dooley 46), Eddie Pope, Jeff Agoos, Frankie Hejduk, John Harkes, Joe-Max Moore, Cobi Jones (Chris Henderson 72), Eric Wynalda, Roy Wegerle (Preki Radosavljevic 59). Cuba - Alexi Reve-Aviles, Juan Carlos Llorente, Alexander Cruzata-Rojas, Antonio Israel Blake, (Omar Montero 74), Toblo Mora-Utrera, Lazaro Carcourt-Martinez, Manuel Bobadilla-Gonzalez (Luis Marten 68), Aneil Alvarez-Layva (Yomber Aguado 59), Lester More Minninghon, Eduardo Cebranco, Alexander Driggs.

Scoring: USA - Wegerle (Wynalda) 55; USA - Wynalda (unassisted) 58; USA - Moore. Total shots: USA 22, Cuba 11. Saves: USA 4, Cuba 7. Corner kicks: USA 11, Cuba 4. Fouls: USA 11, Cuba 10. Offsides: USA 13, Cuba 0 Yellow card cautions: USA - Berhalter 10. Cuba - Reve-Aviles 18.

Referee: Mourad Daami (Tunisia). Referee's assistants: Merare Louis Gonzalez (Trinidad & Tobago), Edgar Amulfo Gonzalez (Guatemala). Attendance (Oakland Coliseum): 11,234. Weather: 80 degrees, rainy.