USMNT striker Ricardo Pepi scores in 2nd straight match for Groningen

United States men's national team forward Ricardo Pepi scored in his second straight game for FC Groningen, getting a first-half goal in a 4-1 home loss to AZ Alkmaar on Saturday in the Dutch Eredivisie.

The 19-year-old ran onto a Neraysho Kasanwirjo pass that went from deep in his own half into the opposition penalty area. Pepi outmuscled and spun around defender Sam Beukema, falling to the field in the process, then while on his side used his right foot to shoot past goalkeeper Hobie Verhulst from six yards. That cut Groningen's deficit to 2-1.

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Pepi on Sept. 17 ended a 30-match scoreless streak for club and country in Groningen's a 2-1 loss at Sparta Rotterdam.

Pepi, who is from El Paso, Texas, has three goals in 12 international appearances. He started and played until the 59th minute in the USMNT's 0-0 friendly draw against Saudi Arabia on Tuesday.

Pepi, who is on loan at Groningen from Bundesliga side Augsburg, is one of a number of strikers competing for a place on coach Gregg Berhalter's U.S. roster for the World Cup, which begins on Nov. 20.