The U.S. Men’s National Team used a 61st minute equalizer from Christian Pulisic to earn a 1-1 draw in Sandy, Utah, against Venezuela in a World Cup Qualifying warmup in front of 17,315 fans at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy, Utah. The U.S. now sets its sights on a crucial home qualifying clash against Trinidad & Tobago on Thursday, June 8 at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park in Commerce City, Colo. (7:50 p.m. ET; FS1, UniMas and UDN).
It wasn’t what the U.S. team, and coach Bruce Arena wanted, but it was more about what they needed from the game before big Hexagonal World Cup qualifiers against Trinidad & Tobago and Mexico, Arena had pretty much his A roster and was able to see some Europpean-based players, and they got a game in at altitude. The U.S. will host T&T in Denver, and play Mexico in Mexico City’s rarified air.
Missing was Jozy Altidore, so Arena was not able to pair him with Bobby Wood. The biggest negative was a low-energy first half and a non-aggressive offensive effort up front. While a solid deceive performance will be required to earn points in the upcoming games, early goals may be the key to loosening a packed in defensive approach by T&T, where the U.S. is looking for a win.
The U.S. held a good spell of possession throughout the first half, but it was Venezuela that broke through first when José Manuel Velázquez got on the end of a cross from Júnior Moreno and volleyed past Tim Howard from close range in the 29th minute.
Howard was then called into action to make two diving stops just after the half-hour mark. The veteran goalkeeper turned Moreno’s long-distance effort out for a corner kick in the 33rd minute, before making an alert reaction save on Rubert Quijada’s diving header a minute later.
The U.S. carried much of the play on the other side of halftime, with Clint Dempsey setting the tone when he headed a cross from Jorge Villafaña just wide of the left post in the 48th minute.
The side finally broke through in the 61st minute when a well-worked play between Villafaña and Fabian Johnson led to Pulisic’s clinical equalizer from the top of the area. As the U.S. pushed for the winner, second-half substitute Jordan Morris came close twice in the final 10 minutes, but was thwarted on both opportunities by Venezuela goalkeeper José Contreras who preserved the 1-1 draw.
Next on the Schedule: The U.S. MNT will continue its quest to qualify for the 2018 FIFA World Cup this summer when it welcomes Trinidad & Tobago on Thursday, June 8 at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park in Commerce City Colo. Kickoff is set for 7:50 p.m. ET and the match can be seen live on FS1, UniMas and UDN.
Goal Scoring Rundown:
VEN – Jose Manuel Velazquez (Júnior Moreno), 29th minute: Moreno’s corner kick from the right found Christian Santos at the back post, where he headed across goal. Clint Dempsey nodded the ball to the left side of the area where Moreno pounced to put it back across and find Velazquez who volleyed past Howard inside the six-yard box.
USA 0, VEN 1.
USA – Christian Pulisic (Fabian Johnson), 61st minute: The U.S. pulled level just after the hour mark. Jorge Villafaña penetrated down the left flank before squaring a pass for Johnson at the corner of the area, where he threaded a pass for Pulisic. The USA attacker took a touch before cutting to his left where he unleashed a low blast that José Contreras could only get a single hand to before it trickled over the line. USA 1, VEN 1 FINAL.
- Christian Pulisic’s 61st minute equalizer was the fifth of his international career and comes just a year after tallying his first in a 4-0 win against Bolivia on May 28, 2016.
- Fabian Johnson provided the assist on Pulisic’s goal. The helper was the 11th of Johnson’s international career, tying him for 11th on the MNT’s all-time assist list with Jozy Altidore, John Harkes, and Alexi Lalas.
- Clint Dempsey earned his 133rd cap, pulling him within one appearance of Jeff Agoos for third on the U.S. MNT’s all-time caps list.
- Arena started a four-man back line featuring DeAndre Yedlin, Geoff Cameron, John Brooks, and Jorge Villafaña from right to left.
- The four-man U.S. midfield featured Fabian Johnson and Darlington Nagbe on the right and left flanks, respectively. Captain Michael Bradley played in the holding midfielder role, while Christian Pulisic played in an advanced central position.
- Up top, Bobby Wood paired with Clint Dempsey.
- With the result, the U.S. MNT remains unbeaten against Venezuela, going 3-0-2 all-time.
- The MNT also moved to 4-0-1 all-time in the state of Utah and 3-0-1 at Rio Tinto Stadium.
– U.S. Men’s National Team Match Report –
Match: U.S. Men’s National Team vs. Venezuela
Date: June 3, 2017
Competition: International Friendly
Venue: Rio Tinto Stadium; Sandy, Utah
Kickoff: 8 p.m. MT
Weather: 80 degrees; partly cloudy
Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
USA 0 1 1
VEN 1 0 1
VEN – José Manuel Velázquez (Júnior Moreno) 29th minute
USA – Christian Pulisic (Fabian Johnson) 61
USA: 1-Tim Howard; 2-DeAndre Yedlin (19-Graham Zusi, 90), 4-Michael Bradley (capt.), 6-John Brooks (21-Matt Hedges, 56), 8-Clint Dempsey (16-Kellyn Acosta, 63), 9-Bobby Wood, 10-Christian Pulisic, 15-Darlington Nagbe (18-Jordan Morris, 70), 17-Jorge Villafaña, 20-Geoff Cameron (3-Omar Gonzalez, 45), 23-Fabian Johnson (14-Tim Ream, 63)
Subs: 22-Nick Rimando, 11-Alejandro Bedoya, 13-Dax McCarty
Head coach: Bruce Arena
VEN: 1-José Contreras; 3-Mikel Villanueva, 4-Rubert Quijada, 6-José Manuel Velázquez (18-Yordan Osorio, 56), 17-Pablo Camacho; 5-Francisco Flores, 11-Darwin Machís (16-Aristóteles Romero, 67), 14-Júnior Moreno (13-Francisco La Mantía, 83), 15-Jhon Murillo (2-Jefre Vargas, 89), 9-Salomón Rondón (capt.) (23-Andrés Ponce, 90+3), 19-Christian Santos (10-Jefferson Savarino, 72)
Subs: 12-Alain Baroja, 7-Edder Farías, 20-José Luis Marrufo
Head coach: Marcos Mathias
Stats Summary: USA / VEN
Shots: 12 / 10
Shots on Goal: 2 / 4
Saves: 1 / 3
Corner Kicks: 5 / 2
Fouls: 9 / 12
Offside: 2 / 2
Referee: Jeffrey Solis (CRC)
Assistant Referee 1: Osvaldo Luna (CRC)
Assistant Referee 2: Alejandro Camarena (PAN)
Fourth Official: Juan Calderon (CRC)