U.S. Men’s Soccer Team Adds Two Players Before World Cup Qualifier

5 years ago

United States Coach Jurgen Klinsmann added the 17-year-old Borussia Dortmund midfielder Christian Pulisic to the American roster for Tuesday’s World Cup qualifier against Guatemala in Columbus, Ohio.

Pulisic and midfielder Graham Zusi were added to the roster Sunday as part of a series of adjustments. In other moves, Fabian Johnson (calf) and Matt Besler (concussion) were returned to their club teams.

Pulisic, who was born in Pennsylvania, where his father played indoor soccer professionally, joined Dortmund at 16 and made his first-team debut in January. He was an important player on the United States team that competed in last year’s FIFA Under-17 World Cup in Chile.

Though he has represented the United States at the under-15 and under-17 levels, Pulisic is also eligible to play internationally for Croatia because his grandfather was born there. An appearance in Tuesday’s game would tie him to the United States, however, which has long seemed to be his preference.

The United States lost to Guatemala, 2-0, on Friday night in Guatemala City and enters Tuesday’s game in third place in its group in the current round of qualifying. It must finish in the top two to advance to the final round of regional qualifying for the 2018 World Cup.

Trinidad and Tobago currently leads the group with 7 points, followed by Guatemala (6), the United States (4) and St. Vincent and the Grenadines (0). Each team has three games remaining.

SPAIN AND ROMANIA TIE Spain and Romania played to a lackluster 0-0 draw in an exhibition game in Cluj, Romania, that served as a warm-up for the European Championship.

It was the second consecutive tie for Spain, the two-time defending champion, after its game against Italy on Thursday finished 1-1. Romania had beaten Lithuania, 1-0, on Wednesday.

Neither team played impressively, and both failed to capitalize on the few scoring opportunities they created at Cluj Arena.

Spain played with a depleted squad because of injuries, with Coach Vicente del Bosque missing players such as Andrés Iniesta, Diego Costa and Sergio Ramos.

Spain controlled possession but could not break through Romania’s defense, while the home team threatened on counterattacks and forced Iker Casillas to make a couple of good saves.

Casillas played his 166th game for the national team, beating the European record set by the former midfielder Vitalijs Astafjevs of Latvia. (AP)

RIOT HALTS KENYA MATCH Kenya faces sanctions for a riot that stopped play for more than 30 minutes and forced the police to fire tear gas into the stands to remove angry fans from the stadium in an Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against Guinea Bissau.

Kenyan fans threw stones and other objects at the Guinea Bissau bench and at the fourth official on the sidelines after a disputed goal by Guinea Bissau at Nyayo Stadium in Nairobi. Guinea Bissau won, 1-0, giving Kenya little chance of qualifying for the tournament next year.

The trouble started when the Zimbabwean referee Norman Matemela awarded the goal to Guinea Bissau in the 81st minute despite protests by Kenya’s players that the ball had not crossed the goal line.

Most of the rioters had been removed from the stadium by the time the referee restarted the game for the final nine minutes.

In another qualifier, Ghana drew, 0-0, in Mozambique to stay in control of Group H. Halfway through the final group stage, Morocco, Egypt, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Algeria, Senegal and Cameroon are all in strong positions to qualify for the 2017 Cup of Nations in Gabon. (AP)

INTEREST IN IBRAHIMOVIC The Swedish striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic said Premier League clubs had indicated that they were interested in signing him from Paris St.-Germain, the French champion.

Ibrahimovic, 34, has been linked with a move to clubs like Manchester United, Chelsea and Arsenal, and his contract with P.S.G. is up at the end of this season.

“There is an interest, yes. I can confirm that, and we will see where it leads,” Ibrahimovic told reporters on Sunday in Stockholm.

He also said, “For the moment, I am not at P.S.G. next year,” before joking: “If they replace the Eiffel Tower with a statue of me, I will stay at P.S.G. I can promise that.”


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