A pair of U.S. national team youngsters — Borussia Dortmund’s Christian Pulisic and Hertha Berlin’s John Brooks — faced off on Friday, the two sides playing to a 1-1 draw at Signal Iduna Park in Dortmund.
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It was Brooks’ Hertha, the 23-year-old’s hometown club and the only one for which he’s ever played professionally, who nearly managed a clean sheet against one of Europe’s most prolific scoring sides and so nearly pulled off the upset to send themselves joint-top of the Bundesliga.
Pulisic was particularly bright during the game’s opening 30 minutes, to which point the 18-year-old teed up Emre Mor for a wide open volley with a pinpoint cross to the far post, but the 19-year-old Turkish star’s effort sailed well over the crossbar.
On two other occasions, promising attacks fizzled out and came to nothing with the ball at Pulisic’s feet. The first: a misplaced pass in between two surging teammates; the second: a low cross to the far post where no one had made a run.
Dortmund saw two big chances to equalize come and go for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang inside the final 25 minutes. The Gabonese striker hit the post on a breakaway effort, opting for the chip against Rune Jarstein, only for the Hertha goalkeeper to get a touch on the ball and push it onto the post. The second chance, from the penalty spot, was will haunt him even more, given the poor attempt and the ease with which Jarstein got both hands to the ball.
Aubameyang would get a third crack at Jarstein, though, and pull Dortmund level in the 80th minute. Ousmane Dembele, Dortmund’s other brilliant wonder-kid, provided the ball to the back post, beyond the outstretched leg of Brooks, where Aubameyang was unmarked and waiting for the easy tap-in.
The results sees Hertha (14 points) remain a point ahead of Dortmund for second in the league, now two back of Bayern Munich.