Northern Ireland 1-2 USA: Giovanni Reyna and Christian Pulisic on target for visitors in friendly win as Ian Baraclough waits for a first 90 minute win as the manager stretches to 10 games
- Northern Ireland was beaten 2-1 by the US in Windsor Park in a friendly match
- Chelsea’s Christian Pulisic and Borussia Dortmund’s Giovanni Reyna both scored
- Niall McGinn withdrew one late, but Northern Ireland couldn’t find another
- The hosts will take on Bulgaria on Wednesday in a major home game for the World Cup qualifier
Ian Baraclough is still looking for his first 90-minute win as Northern Ireland manager after a friendly defeat to a star-studded USA.
The former Scunthorpe and Motherwell boss replaced beloved Michael O’Neill in the Windsor Park dugout last summer after being promoted from his role with the country’s Under-21s.
But Baraclough’s only triumph in his 10 games was the penalty shootout in the semi-final of the Euro 2020 play-off in Bosnia last October.
Ian Baraclough has yet to secure his first 90-minute win as Northern Ireland manager
The hosts fell to a 2-1 friendly defeat to the US ahead of a massive World Cup qualifier midweek
And after goals from Borussia Dortmund’s Gio Reyna and Chelsea’s Christian Pulisic on Sunday night, his record now matches that of his Republic of Ireland counterpart Stephen Kenny, who has also lost six and won none of his first 10 games.
Baraclough said, “I hate losing football games. But I will take the flak from the players. The things that are written are no problem for me.
‘I know that we are going in the right direction and are integrating a very good group of players. It’s something we have to be patient with. But if we don’t count Bosnia, then I want to get that first victory. ‘
Christian Pulisic scored a tame penalty to double his side’s advantage in 59 minutes passed
Baraclough will not be judged on games like this after making 10 changes against a 22nd place team in the world and having a large number of players from the best leagues in Europe.
But the pressure will mount if he fails to beat Bulgaria on Wednesday evening in a World Cup home qualifier, which already looks crucial to their chances of reaching Qatar after losing to Italy last week.
Sunday night might have been different if Kyle Lafferty, who captained a team for the first time in his career, hadn’t been dragged along with an early chance that could have ended his five-year international target drought.
Kyle Lafferty was given the captain’s armband and should have put his side in charge
Because they fell behind after half an hour when Reyna – the son of American legend Claudio – saw his 22-yard attack make a bad deflection from dive defender Ciaron Brown to soar above goalkeeper Conor Hazard, who made his first Northern Irish start .
Pulisic doubled the visitors’ lead with a penalty kick in the 59th minute after being knocked out by a challenge from Daniel Ballard, who seemed to get a nick on the ball.
Northern Ireland substitute Niall McGinn gave the hosts some hope two minutes from time with a stunning volley from a bouncing ball to the right of the box – but it wasn’t enough to prevent another defeat.
Niall McGinn (left) scored a beautiful late goal to cut the deficit in half, but there was no late equalizer