It wasn't always pretty, but the US national team battled back to tie Venezuela 1-1 at Rio Tinto Stadium on Saturday in a friendly ahead of the next round of World Cup qualifying.
Jose Manuel Velazquez gave Venezuela the lead in the 29th minute, as he scored following a corner kick that the US could not completely clear. The Americans played from behind until the 61st minute, when Christian Pulisic scored from the edge of the box following a steady build-up.
- Armchair Analyst: Set piece defense an issue for USMNT
- US Player Ratings: Yedlin, Villafana among the standouts
- USA overcome slow start as Pulisic steps up
- Friendly shows US center back options, but also defensive work to be done
- SLUGGISH START FOR YANKS: Venezuela brought a B- or C-squad, admittedly, but while the team lacks name recognition, they proved to be a big test for the Americans. The USMNT stepped up in the second half and put in a far more coherent performance, but the first half looked rough, with the team recovering frequently on defense and the set piece defense on Velazquez's goal being particularly disappointing. This game may provide a wake-up call of sorts ahead of the the key World Cup qualifying games coming up for the US, but it looks like there is work to be done before facing Trinidad & Tobago and Mexico.
- PULISIC IMPRESSES AGAIN: Pulisic may be the name on everybody's lips these days, but it's for good reason. Once again, the 18-year-old stepped up and to a great extent made the play his team absolutely needed. He scored his fifth goal for the USMNT in this game, and if there are many more ahead in his career the US will be all the better for it.
- SAVARINO APPEARS AT "HOME":Real Salt Lake could have used the services of their new young Designated Player, Jefferson Savarino, on Saturday as they lost badly in Dallas, but the Venezuelan came off the bench for the visitors and made a few good plays late in the second half in front of his new home crowd to push the attack forward. Venezuela has a lot of young promising national team prospects at the moment, but Savarino could potentially be in the international mix if he makes a mark for his club.
- USA: Thursday, Jun. 8 – vs. Trinidad & Tobago (8 pm ET | FS1, UniMás, UDN)
- VEN: Thursday, Jun. 8 – vs. Ecuador