USMNT 1-1 Venezuela: Pulisic saves face for Yanks

AP Photo/Rick Bowmer
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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.