Clark's 97th minute goal gives US win

Clark's 97th minute goal gives US win

Published Jan. 21, 2012 12:00 a.m. ET

Ricardo Clark headed Jermaine Jones' corner kick into the net in the 7th minute of stoppage time and the United States beat Venezuela 1-0 in a friendly on Saturday night.

The U.S. had dominated play with nothing to show for it before Clark beat goalkeeper Jose Morales from 7 yards away for his third international goal and first since September 2009. Clark entered the game as a substitute in the 86th minute.

Venezuela was livid at the finish, upset with a series of calls and non-calls by officials that led to a series of events concluding with the winning goal.

Moments after Clark scored, Venezuela's Jose Velasquez was ejected with a red card. Venezuela drew four yellow cards to one for the United States.


The first match between the countries in five years featured the ''B'' teams of both nations because the top players are with their professional squads.

An exception was Jones, who is playing with the national team while serving an eight-game suspension by the German soccer federation.

''It was a great cross,'' Clark said of the corner kick that led to the game winner. ''I found a good spot and made the most of it.''

It was Clark's first game since the United States played Mexico on Aug. 10. He last scored in international competition against Trinidad and Tobago on Sept. 9, 2009.

The 28-year-old midfielder from Jonesboro, Ga., is ignominiously remembered for a play in the 2010 World Cup, when Ghana's Kevin-Prince Boateng stripped the ball from him and put the Black Stars ahead in the fifth minute. Ghana went on to eliminate the Americans 2-1 in overtime.

Jones, who served as U.S. captain for the game, was suspended when the German federation concluded he had intentionally stepped on the foot of star player Marco Reus during a break in the action of a German Cup game between Jones' team Schalke and Borussia Moenchengladbach.

The U.S. outshot Venezuela 15-3, many of the opportunities from short range, but the shots were errant, or Morales made one of his five saves.

Morales was shaken up after he took a knee to the left thigh from American C.J. Sapong. The goalkeeper sat on the ground for several minutes until the decision was made to leave him in the game, an incident that led to the extended stopping time that featured the winning goal.

The United States beat a team from South America for the first time since a 3-1 win over Ecuador on March 25, 2007. The U.S. had 10 losses and three ties against teams from that continent since then.

The U.S .improved to 3-4-1 since former German World Cup star Jurgen Klinsmann took over from Bob Bradley as coach last year.

Jones had one of the best chances for a goal but missed from point-blank range. The U.S. had also failed miserably on set plays until the game winner.

Venezuela had a scoring shot in the 62nd minute but Salazar's header went right into the hands of goalkeeper Bill Hamid. Moments later, the U.S. squad missed another chance when Teal Bunbury's shot off a breakaway was just right of the post.

Venezuela and the United States played for the fourth time in history. The U.S. leads the series 2-0-1.

Clark's goal was only the sixth for the U.S. teams in Klinsmann's eight games as coach.

Clark, a former player with Major League Soccer's Houston Dynamo, is with Eintracht Frankfurt in the German second division but has fallen out of favor and hasn't been in a match for the team since July 25, the second game of the season.

The United States plays Panama in Panama City on Wednesday.

Hamid made his U.S. national team debut along with defender A.J. DeLaGarza, midfielder Graham Zusi and substitute Sapong.