US planning lineup changes with short rest for Mexico match

10 Juin, 2017, 21:34 | Author: Marie-Claire Cellier

The rich panorama beyond the west end of Dick's Sporting Goods Park was among two engrossing sights on this early summer evening in suburban Denver.

Christian Pulisic was the hero - a sentence likely to become a well-worn sentiment in the months and years ahead.

Borussia Dortmund star Pulisic, still only 18, has breathed fresh life into the USA qualifying campaign this year and scored twice in a 2-0 win over Trinidad & Tobago in Colorado on Thursday.

And Pulisic deepened T&T's woes when he got behind the defence in the 62nd minute to beat Williams for the second time.

It's not his team yet.

Pulisic, 18, now has seven goals in all global competitions over 15 appearances for the US team.

"I think Trinidad was well prepared for the match, had a good tactical plan, and played well", USA coach Bruce Arena said after the match. "No one cares how old you are". Christian Pulisic has a new fan in me.

The Americans are now unbeaten in their past three qualifiers, and they will be no worse than tied for third in the six-team standings heading into Sunday's away match against Mexico.

"It's going to be a tough one down there definitely but we really want revenge on them for when they got us earlier in the campaign", Pulisic said, referring to Mexico's 2-1 win over the United States of America in Columbus last November. "But with the guys we have and the confidence we have, there's no reason we can't do it".

Two minutes after the hour, Pulisic finished a move that he started. Pulisic has achieved the feat in 15 contests matching the output of current teammate Jozy Altidore at the start of his worldwide career. "We certainly are. We're going to continue to lean on him as he grows".

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"There was hardly any difference between both teams", Trinidad coach Dennis Lawrence said. "After another big day like this, I just feel more confident the next time I'm out on the field", he said.

Here is where things get a bit dicey, expect changes from Thursday simply because I expect a more defensive strategy from Bruce.

Other players took greater responsibility Thursday.

The teenage starlet then bagged his seventh goal in only his 15th worldwide appearance to make it 2-0 after 62 minutes, latching on to Jozy Altidore's flawless through ball before whipping a low finish in at the near post. The pair was instrumental in unlocking the T&T defense after a frustrating first half. "The first half I felt a bit exhausted, but in the second half I got kind of a second win and was feeling better". "We allowed them to be creative and do what they do".

"For us there's no bigger game", Bradley said following Thursday's win.

As the team turned attention to the Mexico match, speculation turned to the lineup and, among other issues, how Arena will use Pulisic.

Missing several regulars because of injuries and illness, the Americans rebounded in March with a 6-0 home win over Honduras and a 1-1 draw at Panama.

Dempsey's night ended early, with Arena pulling him out just a minute before Pulisic's second goal.

Bundesliga-based Pulisic slid home a close-range finish from DeAndre Yedlin's low cross in the 52nd minute to give the Americans the lead in their CONCACAF zone qualifying battle.

A decision about the front line is also in the works: One or two forwards? The Seattle Sounders star could be seen protesting the early exit with Arena, but the U.S. boss needed only to point to Pulisic racing down the field and settling the outcome to show it wasn't a bad move.

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