Goals from Christian Pulisic and Giovanni Reyna fired the United States to a 2-1 win over Northern Ireland in Sunday’s friendly.
Gregg Berhalter’s side took control of the game early on but found Northern Ireland’s stubborn defence tough to break down, and the hosts actually enjoyed more shots on goal in a tricky opening 45 minutes.
However, despite being behind on the stats sheet, it was the US who were in charge at the break as Borussia Dortmund starlet Reyna fired in an effort from long range that found the back of the net after a wicked deflection off Ciaron Brown and into the back of the net.
Pulisic, who was handed the captain’s armband for the game, made it two after the break as he tapped home from the penalty spot, bagging the goal the Chelsea man’s excellent performance deserved.
Perhaps the best highlight of the game came from Northern Ireland’s Niall McGinn, whose outstanding strike in the 88th minute created a nervy atmosphere towards the end of the match, but the US were too strong and held on for the victory.
“What I say about Christian is to forget about all the great stuff he does on the ball,” Berhalter said of Pulisic’s performance (via Goal). “He just competed today, and, when he’s in that type of mode, he’s just an unbelievable player.
“That’s what I was most happy with today: the relentless pressing. He just kept going and going and going, and then he’s so good on the ball, he can unbalance a team. To me, he had an overall really strong performance.
“In my opinion, that’s the next level for Christian: just that type of performance all the time. When he does that, the rest speaks for itself.
“He’s such a creative player, he’s such a good player and I was really impressed with his performance, really impressed with how he handled himself today before the game, during the game and after the game. So overall, I really liked his performance.”
The match was the USMNT’s last until May, when they’ll face Switzerland ahead of the CONCACAF Nations League semi-final against Honduras.