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Americans accomplished their Gold Cup quarterfinal destination, but their trip was hardly stylish.

Beasley's strike in extra time drops South Korea 2-1 in Gold Cup opener.

Beasley gives U.S. a Gold Cup win in match it easily could have easily lost.

Gold Cup standings, results

U.S. men

McBride’s penalty kick drops outclassed Cuba 1-0, earns berth in Gold Cup quarterfinals.

PASADENA, Calif. (Monday, January 21, 2002) -- It was hardly an impressive performance, but the United States slipped by Cuba 1-0 today before 31,244 at the Rose Bowl and moved into the Gold Cup quarterfinals.

Despite dominating most of the action, all the Americans could put on the board against the overmatched Cubans was striker Brian McBride’s penalty kick in the 21st minute.

"We played the game where we should have beaten them 4-0 or 5-0," said forward Josh Wolff who probably should have netted a couple. "We were never able to get that second goal. When you do get the second goal, it has kind of a snowball effect."

After defeating South Korea 2-1 on Saturday, the U.S. (2-0) won Group B and will return to the Rose Bowl Sunday for a quarterfinal against the Group A runnerup which will be the winner of Wednesday’s game between El Salvador and Guatemala. In case of a tie, the U.S. will face El Salvador.

"We did not do well with our chances, but we're still happy to walk away with a win," U.S. coach Bruce Arena said. "We won two games and our mission was to advance here."

The U.S. is 14-0 in Gold Cup preliminary group play and advanced to the quarterfinals for the sixth straight time.

After spending the first several minutes sorting out a relatively unfamiliar opponent, the U.S. began to dictate terms, forcing Cuba to defend with numbers, denying it the ability to attack. The Americans exploited both flanks with midfielders Cobi Jones and DaMarcus Beasley finding space to deliver dangerous crosses.

It was Beasley's quickness that led to the first goal. Playing a quick combination with Landon Donovan, Beasley cut inside the left corner of the box and pushed the ball past Cuban defender Mario Rodriguez, who arrived late and knocked the teenager to the ground for a penalty.

"He got me," Beasley said. "I tried to fake him inside and go outside. He went for it and lunged, then I was history after that. He fouled me and Brian had the penalty kick."

McBride, taking a penalty kick in international play for the first time, calmly beat goalkeeper Odelin Molina, to the lower right corner for his 15th career goal and a 1-0 advantage.

"Bruce never actually set who was going to take it," McBride said. "It just so happens that Landon missed a penalty in practice, so everybody was saying, 'You're done. You can't take it any more.' He got that ball and looked at me and said, 'Do you want it?' I said, 'Yeah, I'd love it.' "

Only four minutes earlier, Wolff wasted a fine cross by Jones by sending a header high over the crossbar, In the 29th minute, Jones sent a shot from 10 yards directly at Molina.

In the 40th minute, it was Donovan who missed wide left with a close-range shot. In the 49th, Wolff’s left-footer from 12 yards was wide to the left.

"Some days you just don't have it," Beasley said. "Luckily we got one early. It was frustrating. We all tried to push forward and tried to get that second goal. You just have to press them and keep going. You just have to keep fighting and hopefully you'll get a second. But today we didn't."

Cuba’s best chance came in the 53rd minute when captain Jeniel Marquez gained possession at the top right corner of the box and sent a drive for the far corner that U.S. keeper Kasey Keller handled for the second of his two saves.

The U.S. outshot the Cubans 16-5 with Keller earning his 24th career shutout and 12th victory in a row on U.S. soil.

"I thought we came out and we stuck to our game plan, and that was to play our football and get a goal early," defender Pablo Mastroeni said. "We were seeking that second goal and it just never came. I think we handled the pressure early in the second half when they were coming at us. I think overall we had a fair performance."

United States 1, Cuba 0

Lineups: Cuba - Odelin Molina, Alexander Cruzata, Mario Rodriguez, Alexadner Driggs, Silvio Pedro, Jeniel Marquez, Mario Pedraza (Miguel Angel Gandara 82), Jorge Ramirez (Maikel Galindo 64), Livian Perez, Alberto Delgado, Rey Angel Martinez (Lazaro Dacourt 78). United States - Kasey Keller (captain), Frankie Hejduk, Pablo Mastroeni, Jeff Agoos, Carlos Bocanegra, Cobi Jones, Chris Armas, DaMarcus Beasley, Landon Donovan (Richie Williams 55), Brian McBride, Josh Wolff (Jeff Cunningham 66).

Scoring:
United States - McBride (penalty kick) 21.

Shots: Cuba 6, United States 16. Saves: Cuba 2, United States 4. Corner kicks: Cuba 2, United States 4. Fouls: Cuba 24, United States 22. Offside: Cuba 3, United States 1. Yellow card cautions: Cuba - Perez 38, Pedrazo 46, Pedro 66, Driggs 74; United States - Bocanegra 71, Hejduk 80.

Referee: Jose Pineda (Hondura). Assistant referees: Mike Mitchell (Jamaica), Hector Vergara (Canada). Attendance: 31,244 at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif. Weather: 57 degrees, clear.

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