Sunday, June 25, 2017

United States 1 Venezuela 1: Pulisic helps hosts to draw

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 4 Jun 2017

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A second-half goal from Christian Pulisic helped the United States to a 1-1 draw against Venezuela in an international friendly on Saturday.

Pulisic struck in the 61st minute at Rio Tinto Stadium, cancelling out Jose Velazquez’s first-half header.

Velazquez scored after USA had looked the more likely, with Venezuela almost doubling their lead through Rubert Quijada.

The hosts looked dangerous in the second half before Borussia Dortmund teenager Pulisic levelled, although they struggled to create clear-cut chances.

The friendly was USA’s only outing before crucial World Cup qualifiers against Trinidad and Tobago and Mexico later this month.

Y’all heard about this @cpulisic_10 guy?

Yeah, he scored again . #USAvVEN pic.twitter.com/6mHvF5uEBH
— U.S. Soccer (@ussoccer) June 4, 2017

USA named a strong starting XI that included stars Clint Dempsey, who is one goal behind the nation’s all-time leading scorer Landon Donovan, and Pulisic.

Venezuela, playing two friendlies this month, started with West Brom forward Salomon Rondon up front as assistant Marco Mathias took charge with head coach Rafael Dudamel away at the Under-20 World Cup in South Korea.

USA made the better start and had a glorious opportunity in the 14th minute, but Fabian Johnson was unable to find Dempsey with a pass when he perhaps should have shot.

A heavy touch moments later was all that stopped Dempsey from opening the scoring and, as Pulisic became more involved, the hosts looked lively.

USA were having plenty of joy in wide areas, but they were let down by their final pass on numerous occasions in the opening half-hour and eventually went behind.

The hosts failed to clear a corner and Velazquez was on hand to poke in from close range after Junior Moreno’s header into the area.

Moreno then forced a diving save from Tim Howard from distance before Venezuela almost doubled their lead in the 34th minute.

Quijada got on the end of a corner at the back post, but his header was saved onto the woodwork by Howard before USA cleared.

Dempsey steered a header wide to start the second half before USA deservedly levelled just after the hour-mark.

Found by a Johnson pass on the edge of the area, Pulisic took a touch before firing a left-footed effort past Jose Contreras.

USA continued to look dangerous as the half went on, but they struggled to create clear-cut chances as Venezuela held on.

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