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USMNT 1-1 Venezuela: Pulisic saves face for Yanks

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  • Yanks go behind
  • Pulisic levels it up
  • Brooks injured
  • U.S. faces T&T in World Cup qualifier on Thurs.

Christian Pulisic has the ability to gloss over plenty of team bad with one sterling individual moment.

The 18-year-old Pulisic’s second half goal  after José Manuel Velázquez gave Venezuela an early lead led the USMNT to a 1-1 draw at Rio Tinto in Sandy, Utah.

The Yanks have five days before Thursday’s World Cup qualifier at home versus Trinidad and Tobago, and eight before a visit to Azteca to face Mexico.

[ MORE: Player ratings | 3 thingsPulisic’s equalizer ]

An early foul had Clint Dempsey teeing up a free kick from 30 yards away, but his shot carried over the bar.

Dempsey had penalty shouts denied when Fabian Johnson deferred on a 14th minute chance and contact had him on the turf.

Darwin Machís of Leganes was an early menace for Venezuela, though he was missing the final ball.

Christian Pulisic tried to sneak a half-volley into the upper 90 in the 19th minute, but missed the mark.

Yet Venezuela hit the scoreboard first, with Velázquez rising to nod home after a corner kick ping-ponged in the 18 to help him lose Fabian Johnson.

Howard made an outstanding save to keep it 1-0, and then another on the corner as he pushed a ball off the post. Set pieces are a major concern heading into next week’s qualifiers.

Venezuela was lively to start the second half, and the Yanks had a new center back pairing within 10 minutes. Omar Gonzalez came on for Geoff Cameron at the break, and Brooks hit the deck with what turned out to be a cramp in the 52nd minute. Brooks returned for a few minutes before Matt Hedges replaced him.

Johnson whiffed on a solid chance in the 57th minute, and a Michael Bradley turnover nearly sprung Venezuela the other way.

Pulisic leveled it up after Nagbe, Villafana, and Johnson teamed up to work on the left. Pulisic worked a pair of defenders before hitting a low shot across the keeper and home.

Subs invigorated the Americans, and Kellyn Acosta’s sweeping free kick was missed by Bobby Wood near the penalty spot and Tim Ream off the back post.

FOLLOW LIVE, Gold Cup: USMNT closes out group v. Panama

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It’s a fully-changed starting XI for the U.S. Men’s National Team as it closes out the group stage against Panama at Children’s Mercy Park in Kansas City, Kansas.

Omar Gonzalez and Matt Miazga start together in the backline, Jozy Altidore returns to the starting lineup up top, and Jordan Morris and Jonathan Lewis feature on the wings alongside Altidore. Ten of the 11 players now ply their trade in MLS, including the Gonzalez, who recently moved to Toronto FC.

[ FOLLOW LIVE: USMNT takes on Panama in Kansas City]

Hit the link above to follow along for the next two hours, and check back on PST for a full recap and in-depth analysis after the final whistle.

Must-See Goal: Wayne Rooney v. Orlando City

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I’m going to go out on a limb and say it. Wayne Rooney just scored the most amazing goal in Audi Field’s young history.

In the 10th minute of D.C. United’s match against Orlando City SC on Wednesday evening, Rooney noticed Orlando’s Brian Rowe straying way off his line. And so, with an audacious but accurate attempt, Rooney let fly from 65 yards and SCORED. Just check this goal out below.

[FOLLOW LIVE: USMNT v. Panama]

Rooney took advantage of a crazy bounce and with his literal first touch, unleashed a thunderbolt that Rowe couldn’t catch up to. It automatically becomes one of the top contenders for the MLS Goal of the Year, and should make it on every top ten countdown this evening and tomorrow.

Benfica: Atletico Madrid make $143 million bid for Felix

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The legend of Joao Felix appears to have reached full market value potential.

The 19-year-old Portuguese striker is coming off a breakout year for Benfica, and now the Portuguese giants have received an impressive $143 million offer from Atletico Madrid for Felix. The club confirmed the offer in a statement on its website, stating it was analyzing the deal. Felix has a $136.5 million release clause in his contract, but it appears the additional $7 million is in processing costs.

[READ: Kroos wants to retire at Real Madrid]

Felix was outstanding at Benfica last year, scoring 15 goals with seven assists in 26 league games and three goals and one assist in five Europa League game. Felix has already made his international debut for Portugal.

If confirmed, Felix would become the fifth-most expensive transfer in world history, and the second-most expensive transfer for a teenager behind Kylian Mbappe.

AFCON: Nigeria 1st team through to round of 16 at African Cup, joined by host Egypt

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CAIRO (AP) Former champion Nigeria became the first team to reach the last 16 at the African Cup of Nations after defender Kenneth Omeruo‘s second-half goal delivered a 1-0 win over Guinea on Wednesday.

The Nigerians were unimpressive in the first half in Alexandria but lifted their game in the second. Alex Iwobi‘s rasping shot was pushed away by Guinea goalkeeper Ibrahim Kone and Ahmed Musa almost set up Odion Ighalo on a counterattack.

The former Chelsea defender Omeruo did what the forwards had not been able to do when he beat Kone with a glancing header at the near post off Moses Simon’s corner in the 73rd minute.

Nigeria, which won the title in 2013, has two wins from two games in Group B. It beat Burundi 1-0 in its first match and now needs a draw from its last fixture against Madagascar to finish top and stay in Alexandria for the last 16.

There was more good news for Nigeria when Samuel Kalu came on as a substitute near the end. The midfield player collapsed at a training session the day before the first game, suffering from dehydration, and was hospitalized.

Coach Gernot Rohr rested captain John Obi Mikel against Guinea.

Elsewhere, Egypt also confirmed a place in the knockout stages with a 2-0 win over the Democratic Republic of Congo. Ahmad Elmohamady and Mohamed Salah each scored in the first half to lead the Pharoahs to victory, the hosts second-straight win in the competition.

In the other match of the day, Uganda tied Zimbabwe, 1-1.