U.S. World Cup worries grow, draw with Saudis in last tuneup before the tournament concludes
By MELISSA DUNN
Last updated 2:17 PM ET
WASILLA, N.B. — World Cup qualifying ended in a tie on Sunday night, and it ended on a chilly note.
The U.S. and New Zealand played to a 1-1 draw and a rain-soaked New Zealand held off a late Canada goal to reach the last spot in the field.
New Zealand needed to win at least one game against Jamaica, Mexico and Trinidad and Tobago to qualify for June’s tournament in Brazil, where it will play host.
New Zealand ended up with a share of the point with the U.S., which beat the Canadians to top spot in CONCACAF. The U.S., which had its own win, took second, while Mexico held on for third.
The final game was played outside, in a rainstorm, with the two teams battling to the final minute in front of more than 90,000 fans — a national record to this point in the qualifying process for the World Cup.
The U.S. led 2-0 after 20 minutes, but was forced to play the last half hour to tie it.
Goalkeeper Tyler Miller, who has been at the heart of the U.S. team throughout the qualifying cycle, made a diving stop in front of the net in a corner kick in the 74th minute to preserve the draw.
U.S. goalkeeper Zack Steffen, who has been in goal for 10 straight games, was relieved of his duties in the second minute of stoppage time, with Mexico’s David Guzman on the bench to replace him.
New Zealand goalkeeper Joel Campbell, who is the second-youngest goalkeeper at the tournament, made a diving stop of a low cross from U.S. captain Michael Bradley, who scored the opening goal, to keep the tie going until a save by Miller in the 83rd minute gave the U.