Brenden Aaronson leads USMNT against Morocco in international friendly

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Christian Pulisic takes on Morocco in an international friendly on June 1, 2022 in Cincinnati.

Brenden Aaronson opened the scoring while Matt Turner kept the door closed as the United States men’s national soccer team beat Morocco 3-0 in a friendly match between the World Cup teams on Wednesday night in Cincinnati.

The victory came in the first of six tune-up matches expected for the USMNT ahead of the World Cup which begins in November in Qatar. It also happened on a day when the United States came close to learning their opponent for the opening game of the World Cup.

Presenting a mostly first-choice lineup against Morocco en route to the World Cup, the Americans entered the draw in the 26th minute. Christian Pulisic received a long pass on the run and took the ball into the Atlas Lions penalty area. When two defenders swarmed, Pulisic found a wide open Aaronson, who timed him.

Timothy Weah doubled the lead six minutes later with a long-range strike from outside the penalty area. Haji Wright, in his first match for the USMNT, closed the scoring with a 64th-minute penalty goal. Turner was credited with eight saves.

In their first game since securing their World Cup spot, the Americans launched several players who are expected to play a big role in Qatar, including Pulisic, midfielder Tyler Adams and centre-back Walker Zimmerman. Less than six months before the World Cup, the American team also saw the return of star midfielder Weston McKennie, who suffered a foot injury since February. He replaced Aaronson in the 72nd minute.

The performance continued what were a big few days for Aaronson. On May 26, the 21-year-old winger officially announced a deal to join Leeds United in the English Premier League.

With his help, Pulisic became the fastest USMNT player to reach double-digit goals and assists. He now has 21 goals and 10 assists in 49 appearances for the national team.

Earlier on Wednesday, Ukraine beat Scotland in a European qualifier. This sends Ukraine to face Wales on Sunday, with the winner of that match taking on the United States on the opening day of the World Cup on November 21 in Qatar. The United States also face England and Iran.

The Americans continue that international window with another friendly on Sunday against Uruguay in Kansas City, Kansas, then turn their sights to the Concacaf Nations League match on June 10-14. Two more friendlies are scheduled for September, but they haven’t been announced yet.

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