Green shows dual citizens’ spark in draw with Kiwis
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Green shows dual citizens’ spark in draw with Kiwis

The 21-year-old was the shining light for the United states in their 1-1 draw with New Zealand.

football Updated: Oct 13, 2016 10:23 IST
United States v New Zealand,Julian Green,International friendlies
Julian Green has started only three times for the United States so far.(USA Today Sports)

German-born Julian Green scored his second goal in as many matches for the United States in a 1-1 draw Tuesday with New Zealand, showing critics of dual-citizen players on Jurgen Klinsmann’s squad how much America means to him.

The 21-year-old Bayern Munich forward, in only his third US career start and eighth appearance, sparked the Americans, who settled for a draw thanks to teen striker Monty Patterson’s equalizer in the 73rd minute for the All Whites.

The friendly was the last tuneup for both teams before 2018 Russia World Cup qualifying resumes next month. The US club was coming off a 2-0 victory over Cuba at Havana on Friday while New Zealand lost 2-1 to Mexico three days ago.

The Americans are looking toward a November 11 qualifier against arch-rival Mexico.

“There were a few things we didn’t know before the camp started. We found a couple of very interesting answers. We saw a lot that helps us make up our minds before the Mexico clash,” Klinsmann said.

“I don’t think we made it harder for ourselves. We got the answers we were looking for. There was a lot we learned in the training sessions. It will not be easy to choose.”

Long-time US women’s star Abby Wambach ripped Klinsmann’s expansion of dual-citizens to the New York Times but four such players took the field and impressed.

“If I’m here I’m very happy and it’s a great honor,” Green said.

“I’m working hard. I score goals. I always had the confidence. Now I’m scoring the goals. It feels good.”

German-born midfielder Danny Williams, who entered late, said just because he was born in Germany, his US devotion should not be questioned.

“Of course it means a lot. It means the world,” he said. “I’m proud to have that logo over my heart. It’s an honor to represent my country.”

Another German-born talent, Terrence Boyd, made his first international appearance in nearly three years as a US reserve.

Green blasted a right-footed shot past two defenders and All Whites goalkeeper Stefan Marinovic in the 27th minute. He took the ball down the left side, cut to the middle just beyond the penalty area and unleashed a rocket that went inside the near post.

“Julian is back in the picture. He has made a huge step forward,” Klinsmann said. “Every training session he was more mature, stronger, more confident. It’s nice to see his development.”

New Zealand equalized off a corner kick. The ball went short to defender Michael Boxall, who knocked it down to tee-up Patterson.

The 19-year-old forward for England’s Ipswich Town fired a shot between the legs of US goalkeeper David Bingham, making only his second appearance as a half-time substitute for Mexican-born starter William Yarbrough.

Patterson nearly struck again in the 87th minute, rolling a ball past Bingham and a defender only to have US defender Michael Orozco kick it away before it threatened the goal line.

“To come here and have two big performances away from home means we’re moving on the right track,” New Zealand coach Anthony Hudson said. “We’ve barely had this team together. All of us in our camp are very proud.”

The US attacked late but Williams was twice denied in the 89th minute, once by Kiwi goalkeeper Stefan Marinovic and again on a smothered rebound.

“As soon as the ball left my foot I thought it would go in. It was a great save,” Williams said. “I thought I had the rebound but they threw the bodies in there.”

Klinsmann made seven roster changes from the Cuba win in a bid to evaluate more players before qualifying begins.

The Americans extended their unbeaten run at RFK Stadium since 2002 to 8-0 with two drawn and stayed unbeaten against New Zealand at 2-0 with a draw.

First Published: Oct 13, 2016 10:23 IST