Fuel Soccer Talk: Happy homecoming for Pugh; Uly’s proud mom; More on the U.S. U-17 roster

Time of the year soccer fans’ clicker needs new batteries!

Pugh helps lead U.S. comeback over Australia

The match at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park near Denver between the U.S. Women’s National team and Australia was a homecoming for Mallory Pugh and Lindsey Horan, who is from nearby Golden.

Pugh, who is from Highlands Ranch, was given a hometown greeting when she entered the game early in the second half. It didn’t take her long – about 37 seconds – to earn the cheers. Pugh scored twice on the night and helped lead a U.S. comeback for a 5-3 victory in the friendly on Thursday night. “That’s never happened before,” she said. “I knew going in I wanted to make a difference and play the role I can play. It was definitely a special night.”

Tobin Heath and Megan Rapinoe also scored second-half goals and Alex Morgan scored in the first half.

The U.S. improved to 3-1-2 in the first six games of the Countdown to the Cup. The Americans have four games left leading up to the Women’s World Cup in France from June 7 to July 7. The U.S. team will start defense of its World Cup title against Thailand on June 11 in Reims, France.

What did you think of the U.S. team on Thursday?

Llanez signs first pro contract with German side Wolfsburg

Twitter takes plenty of abuse (and oftentimes rightly so) for hating and trolling but it also can make you smile. And Hilda Vargas made Twitter smile today! The mother of Ulysses Llanez tweeted: “Proud mom. Continue working my champ this is just the beginning.” And who wouldn’t be proud. Her son, Ulysses, announced this week that he signed his first contract with German side Wolfsburg! “I wanna thank my family, coaches, & my friends that supported me through this journey,” he tweeted.

The forward, who turned 18 on April 2, will continue training at the Bundesliga club before officially joining when the transfer and registration window reopens this summer. Llanez, who left LA Galaxy II last year, has been playing for the U.S. U20s and was part of the side which won the 2018 CONCACAF Under-20 Championship in Florida. He scored seven goals at the tournament, and was named in the best XI.

Llanez, one of the top young American prospects, made his professional debut in a 0–2 loss to Phoenix Rising FC on August 6, 2017, coming on as an 88th-minute substitute. Llanez was born in the United States (Lynwood, Calif.) and is of Mexican descent.

Was heading over to Germany the right decision for Llanez?

More on the USMNT U-17 roster recently announced

New U.S. Under-17 Men’s National Team head coach Raphael Wicky has named a 26-player roster for his first training camp in charge of the team. Running from April 4-8 in Lakewood Ranch, Fla., the camp will serve as the team’s final preparation before kicking off the 2019 Concacaf U-17 Championship in May.

Breaking down the roster

Seventeen clubs are represented on the roster, with 21 players coming from domestic teams and four based internationally in Canada, England, Mexico and the Netherlands.

The LA Galaxy provided the most players with four. Three come from New York City FC, while D.C. United, FC United and Seattle Sounders FC each have two players on the roster.

Seattle Sounders FC midfielder Daniel Leyva is the lone player to make his first U-17 MNT camp appearance.

Dating back to the 2017 Nike International Friendlies, defenders Axel Alejandre and Adam Saldana along with goalkeeper Damian Las have appeared in all 11 U-17 camps this cycle.

Seven players have seen professional minutes in 2019.

MAIN PHOTO: Courtesy of Getty Images

LET’S TALK: OK, now you’ve read what’s on my mind…what are your thoughts on the above or any other “football” happenings?

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