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USMNT 2-0 T&T: Pulisic on parade

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  • Yanks move into Top 3 slot
  • Pulisic scores two (video)
  • Altidore, Yedlin assist

Christian Pulisic scored his sixth and seventh international goals to give the USMNT’s World Cup hopes a major boost following a 2-0 win over Trinidad and Tobago in Commerce City, Colorado, on Thursday.

The U.S. now heads to Mexico for Sunday’s qualifier at Azteca, and stands a good chance of finishing this international break in an automatic World Cup qualifying slot.

Trinidad and Tobago stays dead last in the Hex table, with three points. Costa Rica hosts Panama, and Honduras visits Mexico later Thursday.

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The touches weren’t there to start, even if the ideas were going forward. Clint Dempsey plugged consecutive through balls into Trinidad legs, and Jorge Villafana’s chest level cross sailed through the box.

Through 10 minutes, it was scoreless and T&T would have to be happy with its play.

Dempsey had a shot from 19 yards after Bradley sprayed a diagonal ball to Villafana, who moved it to Johnson and onto the former Fulham man. Moments later, Yedlin cued up Altidore from the right side, but the Toronto FC striker went for a fancy back leg finish and whiffed on his shot.

Yedlin was on the end of a terrific ball to the end line, but Altidore got a late start on reaching a cut back. Then Brooks lashed a shot that was parried from trouble by Jan-Michael Williams, who then stopped a strong offering from Altidore. It was coming.

[ MORE: Pulisic projects win in Mexico ]

A relentless run from Pulisic morphed into a gilt-edge chance, and the Borussia Dortmund teenage claimed a deflection when his left-footed lash went over the bar.

Trinidad’s first real chance came when Khaleem Hyland was gifted an acre of space and his long rip flew wide of goal.

Yet it was still 0-0 after the half hour mark, and the Yanks nearly threw it away when Kenwyne Jones beat Brooks to a cross and headed the ball off the bar.

Villafana then tested Williams, and Dempsey chased down the rebound to feed Altidore. The big man’s header was popped over the bar by Williams for a corner.

Now the 37th minute, Nagbe chipped a pass to Altidore that wound up headed over the bar.

[ MORE: USWNT tops Sweden ]

Howard needed to make another stop on a shot through traffic in the 42nd minute, but the U.S. was superior over 45 minutes despite the 0-0 score line.

A Molino cross just missed Nathan Lewis in the 51st minute, and despite its dominance the U.S. was lucky to not trail (again).

The Americans finally scored thanks to Nagbe, who had struggled with his touch but produced a wonderful goal by dribbling into a 1-2 with Dempsey before Yedlin sent a ball into the goal mouth for Pulisic’s sliding finish.

Lewis had a goal called back for offside off the ensuing kickoff.

Williams was injured in the 56th minute, the no-doubt Man of the Match at that point needing a break after scrambling to stop Pulisic and Altidore.

Pulisic nabbed his second when Yedlin played square to Altidore, who snapped a ball beyond the defense for the youngster to bend near post.

Substitutes Kellyn Acosta and Bobby Wood teamed up for a late chance that the latter snapped off the post from 16 yards.

Bravo fit again, but will he start Chile’s Confed Cup group finale?

Photo credit should read YURI KADOBNOV/AFP/Getty Images
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MOSCOW (AP) Claudio Bravo is fit again and could start in goal against Australia at the Confederations Cup on Sunday, Chile coach Juan Antonio Pizzi said Saturday.

Bravo – who is Chile’s joint most-capped player with Alexis Sanchez – hasn’t played since April 27, when he injured his calf for Manchester City in a derby game with Manchester United.

“Claudio is fit, he’s managed to train the last couple of days just like his other teammates,” Pizzi said. “He’s ready and available to play.”

Pizzi brushed off concerns about a lack of match fitness, saying that “quite obviously we take into account that factor” but players like Bravo are “are of such good quality that it isn’t that important they haven’t played in the last couple of months.”

Stand-in Johnny Herrera played in Chile’s 2-0 group stage win over Cameroon and Thursday’s 1-1 draw with Germany.

Gary Medel was substituted with a minor injury while playing in defense for Chile against Germany. Teammate Francisco Silva said Saturday that Medel had complained of “a very small muscle contraction issue” but was now fit.

Pizzi said he will aim to tire out Australia with Chile’s trademark all-action style, even though his team struggled for energy in the latter stages against Germany.

“This energy drop we had in the second half didn’t damage us too much because the opposing team couldn’t maintain a high pace because of the demands we’d imposed on them,” Pizzi said of the Germany game.

“We’re going to try to get (the Australians) tired as well and use this to beat our opponent, and we hope this is going to translate into goals.”

USMNT’s Wood extends Hamburg contract through 2021

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HAMBURG, Germany (AP) American forward Bobby Wood extended his contract with Bundesliga side Hamburger SV on Saturday to 2021.

Wood, who joined Hamburg from second-tier Union Berlin, scored five goals and set up two more in 28 Bundesliga games. He had 17 goals in 31 second-division games for Union the season before.

“Not only his goals count for us, but his readiness to run and challenge,” Hamburg sporting director Jens Todt said. “Bobby is a key player for our offense and a real team player.”

Wood has eight goals in 32 appearances for the United States.

MLS Snapshot: NYCFC run rampant on Red Bulls, win 2-0

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The game in 100 words (or less): The only thing standing in the way of New York City FC avenging their infamous 7-0 loss to the New York Red Bulls with a lopsided demolition job of their own, on Saturday, was an otherworldly goalkeeping performance from Luis Robles. It was the Red Bulls shot-stopper, with his four saves on the afternoon (three of them coming in spectacular fashion), who kept Jesse Marsch’s side within touching distance for more than an hour. Jack Harrison was denied early on by Robles, but got the better of him not long later for the game’s opening goal. Heroics from Robles kept the score at 1-0 for another 32 minutes, before Ben Sweat’s (accidental?) header made it 2-0 in the 65th minute. The Red Bulls, on the other hand, managed their first shot on target in the 80th minute. That’s three wins in a row for NYCFC, who go seven points clear of their Hudson River rivals and keep Toronto FC in sight at the top of the league table, five points ahead.

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Three moments that mattered

18′ — Robles goes full-stretch to deny Harrison — David Villa’s vision and Rodney Wallace‘s hold-play created the chance for Harrison, but Luis Robles’ acrobatics denied the 20-year-old Englishman in spectacular fashion.

33′ — Harrison not to be denied this time — Sweat delivered the ball to Harrison near the top of the box, and the second-year man did everything right with what’s a really, really difficult chance to take — facing away from goal, first-time, ball traveling across the goalkeeper, upper-90 to the far post.

65′ — Sweat loops a header past Robles for 2-0 — Sweat probably didn’t mean it, but the ball hit the back of the net, and that’s all that matters. Not a bad time to score your first MLS goal, either.

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Man of the match: Luis Robles

Goalscorers: Harrison (33′), Sweat (65′)

Watford signs Will Hughes from Derby County

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Watford has completed the capture of 22-year-old central midfielder Will Hughes, a fantastic transfer for one of England’s younger talents.

Hughes, despite his young age, racked up 189 appearances for Derby County (despite missing significant time in 2015 for an ACL tear) and now gets his first shot at the Premier League, and with it potentially a chance to push his way into the England fold. Hughes has been a staple for the England youth system, making 22 appearances for the country’s U-21 side but is yet to feature for the senior team.

The fee for the transfer was undisclosed but reports have tabbed the amount at around $10 million.

Hughes came close to making the Premier League with Derby County on multiple occasions, reaching the Championship playoffs in both 2014 and 2016. Now, he’ll battle the likes of Valon Behrami, Tom Cleverley, Etienne Capoue, Abdoulaye Doucoure for a spot in Watford’s midfield.

The club release confirmed that Hughes has not yet completed his medical, and will do so when he returns to the U.K. from competing in the U-21 European Championships in Poland.