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18-year old Christian Pulisic scored two goals as the US beat Trinidad and Tobago in Commerce City

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Posted at 10:58 PM, Jun 08, 2017
and last updated 2017-06-09 00:58:59-04

COMMERCE CITY, Colo. (AP) -- Christian Pulisic rescued the United States with a pair of second-half goals, and the Americans beat Trinidad and Tobago 2-0 on Thursday night to move into third place at the halfway point in the final round of World Cup qualifying.

Pulisic, an 18-year-old phenom from Hershey, Pennsylvania, ended a frustrating start for the U.S. offense with a goal in the 52nd minute, then added another in the 62nd. He has seven goals and five assists in 15 international appearances, including four goals and three assists in his last four contests.

Goalie Tim Howard of the Colorado Rapids started for the U.S. and did not give up a goal.

After crashing to an 0-2 start in the hexagonal of the North and Central American and Caribbean region, the U.S. is back among the top three, which earn berths at next year's tournament in Russia. Mexico leads with 10 points, followed by Costa Rica, which has seven and is ahead of the U.S. on goal difference. Panama (five), Honduras (four) and Trinidad (three) trail.

The fourth-place team advances to a playoff against Asia's No. 5 nation. The U.S. is at Mexico on Sunday.