Soccer: All Whites draw with US club side

All Whites coach Ricki Herbert drew positives from the result and was pleased to give 20 of his 22-man squad a run. Photo / Getty Images.
All Whites coach Ricki Herbert drew positives from the result and was pleased to give 20 of his 22-man squad a run. Photo / Getty Images.

The All Whites have drawn 1-1 with US club side Ventura County Fusion in California today, in the first hit-out of their three-match tour of USA and Trinidad and Tobago.

Kosta Barbarouses continued his impressive Melbourne Victory pre-season form netting in the first half before New Zealand conceded a late equaliser shortly before fulltime.

All Whites coach Ricki Herbert drew positives from the result and was pleased to give 20 of his 22-man squad a run.

"At the end of the day it was a good hit out," Herbert said. "After two days of training it's good to try a few things in a low pressure environment."

The training nature of the match was clear from the outset with the game played on a local club field with little pomp or ceremony. New Zealand created numerous chances in the first half rattling the upright and crossbar and forcing the local 'keeper into several saves.

Herbert made nine changes to the side at halftime with Ivan Vicelich and Cole Peverley resting minor injuries in the lead up to the international with Trinidad and Tobago next week.

PDL side Ventura County Fusion will be pleased with their afternoon's work in holding their second international opposition to a draw in recent times. The club also played out a 1-1 draw with Canada shortly before the start of the CONCACAF Gold Cup in June.

Herbert paid tribute to their opposition who have also hosted his side since their arrival in the USA at the start of the week.

"Ventura County Fusion has been first class hosts. The accommodation is superb, the training pitches are good, and they've given us a good hit out today," said Herbert.

Chivas USA will provide the next opposition as New Zealand builds towards their final competitive international against Trinidad and Tobago before the home-and-away intercontinental playoff in November, and Herbert is hopeful the All Whites will know their opponents by tomorrow evening.

"We'll be back out on the training pitch tomorrow, before watching the match between Mexico and Panama at the hotel," said Herbert, "hopefully we'll have a clear picture of who we will face before heading down to Los Angeles and taking another a step up against Chivas USA," Herbert said.

The All Whites will then jet out for Port of Spain and the clash with the 85th ranked Soca Warriors in Port of Spain on October 15.

- APNZ

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