Tuesday, March 28, 2023

Police criticize level of US support for victory over Morocco

Cincinnati ( Associated Press) – US captain Christian Pulisic was critical of the level of American support from a crowd of 19,512 at TQL Stadium during Wednesday night’s 3-0 win over Morocco in the first of four World Cup warm-up matches in June.

“For whatever reason, I’m not very happy with the number of Americans here, although, if I’m being completely honest, it works,” The 23-year-old Chelsea forward tells live audience on ESPN2, “But thanks to those who came, and the support is always great from them.”

Brendan Aaronsson and Tim Weah scored in the middle of the first half and Haji Wright converted a penalty kick in the second half of her international debut.

The 15th-ranked Americans, using the roster at nearly 75% full power, won four matches with No. 24 Morocco for the first time, as well as preparing for the November tournament in Qatar.

Wearing rainbow numbers on a white jersey for LGBTQ Pride month, America extended its home unbeaten streak to 24 matches, two shy of the team record, since losing to Mexico in September 2019.

Pulisic scored Aaronson’s sixth international goal in the 26th minute. Touching and passing with both feet to spin defender Sammy Mami, after pulling down a 50-yard pass from Walker Zimmerman.

He scored in the 32nd minute For his third international goal, shot from 22 yards from the goalkeeper’s glove.

Pulisic pulled a penalty kick from Achraf Hakimi in the second half and handed the ball to Wright, his teammate at the 2017 Under-17 World Cup, and Wright defeated goalkeeper Yasin Baunou in the 64th minute,

“We go too far back,” said Pulisic. “He needed that goal, and he said he was confident to step up and take it, so I wanted him to have that confidence, and I’m glad he scored.”

Right and left back Joe Scali entered his US debut at the start of his second half and midfielder Malik Tillman came on for his debut in the 65th, a day after FIFA approved a change in his affiliation to Germany.

America has used 118 players in this World Cup cycle, with 91 under coach Greg Berhalter – 56 making debuts.

Central defender Cameron Carter-Vickers, the son of former NBA player Howard Carter, entered his first international appearance in three years at the start of the second half, and Weston McKennie, returning from a broken leg, finished 72nd.

Berhalter is using June’s matches to see more players than the 38 used in World Cup qualifying. He also experimented by moving Aaronson from one wing to central midfield.

American goalkeeper Matt Turner was not tested until the 52nd minute, when he dived to cross Tariq Tisoudali’s one-hop header. Salim Amlah hit the crossbar with a penalty kick after referee Ismael Cornejo called Scali for a foul on Soufien Rahimi in the 76th minute, although replays showed Scali had not made contact.

The Americas play an exhibition game against Uruguay in Kansas City, Kansas on Sunday, followed by a CONCACAF Nations League match against Grenada in Austin, Texas on June 10, and four days later in El Salvador. The other World Cup prep match for the Americas is a pair of exhibitions in Europe in September.

The Americans make their World Cup debut in Qatar on November 21 against the winner of Sunday’s Wales-Ukraine playoff. They play England four days later and play a close group match against Iran on 29 November.

Morocco suffered defeat for the second time in 35 matches. In its second straight World Cup and sixth overall, it opens Group F against 16th-ranked Croatia on 23 November, plays No. 2 Belgium four days later and faces No. 38 Canada on 1 December.

Hakim Ziyach was dropped from the Moroccan roster by coach Wahid Hlillhodik.


More Associated Press Soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

Nation World News Desk
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