Gio Reyna and Christian Pulisic scored a goal in each half to lift the US men’s national team to a 2-1 win over Northern Ireland in an international friendly at Windsor Park in Belfast Sunday.
Reyna opened the scoring on the half-hour mark with his second International goal. The 18-year-old Borussia Dortmund winger received a pass from Tim Ream, turned to take on a defender and put a shot that deflected off sliding defender Ciaron Brown.
Northern Ireland nearly leveled eight minutes later off a USMNT turnover, but Zack Steffen did well to dive to his right to parry away a low shot from Shayne Lavery.
Kyle Lafferty also had a golden chance for the hosts in the 12th minute, but his free kick from just outside the 18-yard box deflected off the USMNT wall.
Pulisic doubled the lead from the penalty spot in the 59th minute after being tripped by Danny Ballard in the box. The Chelsea midfielder calmly finished his 15th international goal.
Pulisic played provider in the 78th minute, sending Daryl Dike through. But the Orlando City SC forward, on loan with Barnsley, was denied by Northern Ireland goalkeeper Conor Hazard, who again got the better of the powerful striker moments later.
Niall McGinn pulled the hosts back with a thunderous strike two minutes from full time and Northern Ireland had a chance to level on a set piece deep in stoppage time, but the ball bounced out harmlessly seconds before the final whistle.
- THE BIG PICTURE: It’s been a long time since the USMNT went on the road to defeat a European opponent — six years to be exact since that memorable victory over Germany — but Gregg Berhalter’s squad took their chances well, weren’t punished for some turnovers and extended an unbeaten streak to nine in another match in a new-look 3-4-2-1 formation.
- MOMENT OF THE MATCH: There were a few nervy moments, especially in the opening 45 minutes for a disjointed squad, but Reyna’s redirected goal calmed some of those nerves.
- MAN OF THE MATCH: Back wearing the captain's armband, Pulisic converted his PK and set up Dike with a sublime ball that nearly resulted in a third goal.
- NIR: Wednesday, March 31 vs. Bulgaria, FIFA World Cup Qualifier (2:45 pm ET)
- US: Sunday, May 30 at Switzerland (TBD | TBD)