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Benched by Chelsea, Pulisic captains US against Cuba

WASHINGTON (AP) Christian Pulisic captained the U.S. team for Friday night's CONCACAF Nations League opener against Cuba as coach Gregg Berhalter showed his confidence in the 21-year-old midfielder who's mostly been riding the bench lately for Chelsea.

It was the third time overall and first time since June 30 against Curacao that Pulisic wore the armband.

Pulisic was one of four newcomers to Berhalter's starting lineup since the Americans' previous game, an exhibition draw against Uruguay on Sept. 10 when had been released to return to Chelsea.

The other new starters were defenders Matt Miazga and Daniel Lovitz and midfielder Weston McKennie. Miazga is back from a hamstring injury that kept him out of the U.S. team's two September matches. McKennie, like Pulisic, was released to his club after the Sept. 6 friendly against Mexico.

The holdovers from the previous game were goalkeeper Brad Guzan, defenders Reggie Cannon and Tim Ream, midfielders Jackson Yueill and Cristian Roldan, and forwards Jordan Morris and Josh Sargent.

Ream shifts from central defense to left back in place of Sergino Dest, who has not played a competitive match for the U.S. and remains eligible to switch to the Netherlands. Cannon is at right back.

Starting for Cuba: goalkeeper Nelson Johnston; defenders Erick Rizo, Daniel Morejon, Karel Espino and Dario Ramos; midfielders Rolando Abreu, Aricheel Hernandez, Jean Carlos Rodriguez and Luis Paradel; and forwards Maykel Reyes and Manuel Cruz.

More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/apf-Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports

Updated October 11, 2019

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