Christian Pulisic scored twice within a 10-minute span in the second half. (Isaiah J. Downing/USA TODAY Sports)
COMMERCE CITY, Colo. — For the second time in less than a week, Christian Pulisic saved the U.S. hides.
The 18-year-old struck twice within 10 minutes to break a scoreless tie and power the Americans to a 2-0 World Cup qualifying victory over Trinidad & Tobago at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park Thursday night.
The victory boosted the USA (2-2-1, 7 points) into third place in the CONCACAF Hexagonal, pending the results of the Mexico-Honduras and Costa Rica-Panama games later in the night. The Soca Warriors (3) remained in last place, dropping to 1-4-0 as their qualifying hopes took a major hit.
Last Saturday Pulisic scored the lone USA goal in a 1-1 draw with Venezuela.
Of course, Thursday’s game had much greater ramifications as the team remained unbeaten in qualifying under Bruce Arena (2-0-1), who replaced the sacked Jurgen Klinsmann last November.
“It took us a little while to get going,” Pulisic told FS1. “We had some chances in the first half, but we just couldn’t put them away. But once we wore them down a little bit, our quality started to come out.”
Pulisic has six goals in his last nine international matches and has scored or assists on the Americans’ last eight goals.
“Goals, they come and go,” he said. “As long as I keep working hard, just trying to help the team win and do what I can out there. They’ll keep coming. I feel confident right now. We’re happy as team.”
Pulisic tallied his sixth international goal in the 52nd minute after some nice ball movement by the USA. Michael Bradley started the sequence by winning the ball at midfield. DeAndre Yedlin worked the ball down the field. Darlington Nagbe took possession, but the former Seattle Sounders followed the play, took a short pass and crossed to Pulisic in the middle. The Borussia Dortmund teenager slid it home past goalkeeper Jan-Michael Williams.
"The legend continues."Tell your kids you saw Christian Pulisic as a teenager.
由 U.S. Soccer 发布于 2017年6月8日
Video courtesy of the U.S. Soccer Facebook Page.
Only 10 minutes later, Pulisic was celebrating his seventh goal with his teammates. This time, the Hershey, Pa. native found room between two defenders on the right side and beat Williams to near post for a two-goal advantage in the 62nd minute.
”He’s having fun,” Arena said. ”He’s a natural for the game. He sees the game very well.”
After a slow start in the opening 10 minutes, the U.S. picked up its pace and made T&T sweat several times. However, the hosts could not find the net and settled for a scoreless draw at halftime.
Clint Dempsey started things off for the Americans as he drilled a shot over the crossbar in the 15th minute.
In the opening half, Williams did his best imitation of U.S. keeper Tim Howard against Belgium at the 2014 World Cup, making six saves alone.
In the 25th minute, he punched away John Brooks’ attempt and denied Jozy Altidore.
Pulisic, who was fouled several times in the half, motored down the left side, but powered a shot over the bar in 27th minute.
Not just the future. The present as well.Christian Pulisic now has seven goals and two braces in 15 #USMNT caps.
由 U.S. Soccer 发布于 2017年6月8日
Video courtesy of the U.S. Soccer Facebook page.
Williams’ most memorable saves came within an 11-second span in the 35th minute, parrying away attempts by Geoff Cameron and Altidore (a header).
Trinidad had a number of chances, but usually fired wide of its target.
Kenwyne Jones found an opening in the box in the 33rd minute, beating Howard to the ball for a header that bounced off the bar.
Khaleem Hyland’s shot from outside the box forced Howard to make a diving save in the 42nd minutes to keep the visitors off the scoreboard.
At halftime, U.S. head coach Bruce Arena told FS1 about his concerns.
“We need to be a little quicker,” he said. “There needs to be a sense of urgency.”
As it turns out, Pulisic made sure there was in the second half.
Now the Americans will fly into Mexico City for Sunday’s border clash with Mexico with some momentum, confidence and three points in their back pockets.
“It’s going to be a tough one down there in Mexico, especially,” Pulisic said. “But we really want some revenge on them when they got us earlier this year[actually in November 2016]. So we’re really confident going into that game. We’re going to come out with a win there, too.”
So strong words for a teenager, but then again Christian Pulisic has put on some strong performances lately.
USA – Christian Pulisic (DeAndre Yedlin) 52nd minute
USA – Christian Pulisic (Jozy Altidore) 62
USA: 1-Tim Howard; 2-DeAndre Yedlin, 20-Geoff Cameron, 6-John Brooks, 21-Jorge Villafaña; 4-Michael Bradley (capt.); 23-Fabian Johnson (11-Alejandro Bedoya, 74), 10-Christian Pulisic, 15-Darlington Nagbe, 8-Clint Dempsey (16-Kellyn Acosta, 61), 17-Jozy Altidore (9-Bobby Wood, 83)
Subs not used: 12-Brad Guzan, 22-Nick Rimando, 3-Omar Gonzalez, 5-Tim Ream, 7-DaMarcus Beasley, 13-Dax McCarty, 14-Paul Arriola, 18-Jordan Morris, 19-Graham Zusi
Head coach: Bruce Arena
TRI : 21-Jan-Michael Williams; 11-Akhenaton Edwards, 4-Sheldon Bateau, 17-Mekeil Williams, 5-Daneil Cyrus; 10-Kevin Molino, 19-Kevan George, 8-Khaleem Hyland (23-Leston Paul, 76), 3-Joevin Jones (12-Shahdon Winchester, 68); 7-Nathan Lewis, 9-Kenwyne Jones (capt.) (20-Jamille Boatswain, 82)
Subs not used: 1-Marvin Phillip, 2-Aubrey David, 6-Radanfah Abu Bakr, 13-Hughtun Hector, 14-Andre Boucaud, 15-Curtis Gonzales, 16-Alvin Jones, 18-Hashim Arcia, 22-Adrian Foncette
Head coach: Dennis Lawrence
Stats Summary: USA / TRI
Shots: 15 / 11
Shots on Goal: 9 / 2
Saves: 2 / 7
Corner Kicks: 4 / 5
Fouls: 3 / 4
Offside: 0 / 4
TRI – Leston Paul (caution) 76th minute
USA – Alejandro Bedoya (caution) 85
Referee: Oscar Moncada (HON)
Assistant Referee 1: Christian Ramirez (HON)
Assistant Referee 2: Melvyn Cruz (HON)
Fourth Official: Raul Castro (HON)