FOOTBALL: Pulisic scores early, but Chile equalizes for a 1-1 tie

U.S. midfield star Christian Pulisic (Photo: Reto Stauffer vai Wikimedia Commons)

The U.S. men’s national team took a step up in class, playing South American power Chile in a friendly in Houston, Texas, and ending with a hard-played, but not satisfying 1-1 tie on Tuesday evening.

The game started in a frenzy, with both sides looking for offense. The U.S. got the crowd into a frenzy on a clearance from keeper Ethan Horvath that got to the feet of Gyasi Zardes in the midfield. Zardes sent the ball ahead and found Christian Pulisic ahead of the defense and he popped a right-footed shot over Chile’s keeper Gabriel Arias for a 1-0 lead in the fourth minute.

But the lead didn’t last, as Chile organized attack after attack and after a ragged exchange in front of the U.S. goal, a shot deflected off an American defender and came to the feet of defender Oscar Opazo. And Opazo rifled a left-footed shot that sailed by Horvath into the right side of the goal for the tie in the ninth minute.

Chile continued the pressure, but the U.S. somehow managed to avoid giving up a second goal. Pulisic had to come out in the 36th minute after a right quadricep injury, with the removal described as a precaution. The goal was his 10th for the U.S., and at 20, he became the youngest player to get to 10 in American history.

Chile continued to have the initiative in the second half, but Zardes created a chance in the 55th minute by gaining possession in the box, but his shot went over the top of the crossbar. The U.S. was stronger in the middle of the second half and created some build-ups, but no more serious chances at goal.

The U.S. had issues with possession and lost a lot of its offense when Pulisic had to leave. On a positive note, the defense was fairly responsive against Chile’s offense and much better in the last 20 minutes. For the game, Chile out-shot the U.S., 7-5.

The tie left new U.S. coach Gregg Berhalter’s record at 3-0-1; the American men are scheduled to be in action at the CONCACAF Gold Cup in June.

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