Second-half substitute Ricardo Clark scored a header off a Jermaine Jones corner kick in the seventh minute of stoppage time to give the U.S. a 1-0 win over Venezuela in an international friendly Saturday night. Both teams used second-string teams in an attempt to add depth to their squads as World Cup qualifying play approaches this summer.
Clark scored his third international goal in his return to the squad after being left out since his mistake seen as costing the U.S. the game versus Ghana, a 2-1 overtime defeat, and elimination from the last World Cup. “It was a great cross,’’ Clark said of the corner kick. “I found a good spot and made the most of it.’’
Jones, along with Clarke, are the only two players on this squad who play abroad, both play in Germany, Jones for Schalke and Clark, a former MLS player Houston Dynamo, plays for Eintracht Frankfurt in the German second division. The win was the third for the U.S. (3-4-1) in eight games under the new coach Jurgen Klinsmann. The Americans will next play Panama on Wednesday, Jan. 25.
Women’s Olympics Qualifiers
The CONCACAF big four in women’s soccer seem set for a semifinal battle in their quest for the two of the region’s Olympic berths. Canada, Costa Rica, the U.S. and Mexico have dominated group play at the CONCACAF Olympic Women’s Qualifying Tournament Vancouver, Canada last weekend.
In Group B, Canada already has two wins (6-0 over Haiti, 2-0 over Cuba) and so does Costa Rica (2-0 vs. Cuba, 2-0 over Haiti). Both winners will play each other for first place in the group and the chance to play the second-place finisher in Group A, most likely Mexico as the USA is in good position to win the group.
In Group A, the USA (14-0 over Dominican Republic and 13-0 vs. Guatemala) and Mexico (5-0 vs. Guatemala and 7-0 vs. Dominican Republic) racked up wins on Friday and Sunday to secure semifinal appearances; the USA and Mexico will play next for first place in the group. In the U.S second game, Abby Wambach scored twice in the first half to get her 129th international goal, third among women behind U.S. players Mia Hamm (158) and Krisstine Lily (130). Sydney Leroux, in only her second senior international game, scored five goals in the rout of Guatemala. The semifinal winners will play in the London Olympics this summer.
Red Bulls Draft Choice
The New York Red Bulls added three players in Tuesday’s 2012 MLS Supplemental Draft. The club selected University of Virginia defender Mike Volk, University of Pennsylvania midfielder Christian Barreiro and Hastings College midfielder Nate Polak.
The Red Bulls selected Volk, 22, with their second round selection (31st overall). The defender played in 64 games during his three years at Virginia, starting 62. He was a team captain in his junior and senior seasons. As a sophomore, he capped off an impressive season by being named to the 2009 College Cup All-Tournament Team. Prior to attending the University of Virginia, Volk attended Rutgers University where he played in 13 games, starting eight.
With their third round selection (50th overall), the Red Bulls selected Barreiro, a two-time All-Ivy selection at the University of Pennsylvania. The Baltimore native played in 71 total games, starting 69. He tallied a total of 20 goals and 18 assists, and as a senior in 2011 led the team in both categories with seven apiece. He also earned First Team All-Ivy honors as a junior in 2010 when he tied for the conference lead with seven assists.
The Red Bulls selected Hastings College midfielder Polak, one of the top junior college players in the nation last year, with the 69th overall selection. Polak ranks third on Hastings’ all-time goals and assists lists, as he notched 43 goals and 30 assists during his tenure. As a senior in 2011, the Lincoln, NE native scored 18 goals and added 17 assists while leading Hastings to an undefeated season in the Great Plains Athletic Conference. Polak’s excellent 2011 campaign was recognized, as he was named an NAIA First Team All-American selection. As a junior, Polak was a vital member of the school’s 2010 NAIA National Championship winning side.
The Red Bulls did not have a selection in the first round after trading their 2012 third round SuperDraft selection (now first-round supplemental draft pick) to the Houston Dynamo along with the rights to defender Hunter Freeman in exchange for allocation money in 2010.
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