The American’s win was its third in eight matches since Jurgen Klinsmann took over from Bob Bradley as coach last year.
The U.S. had dominated play with nothing to show for it before Clark beat goalkeeper Jose Morales for his third international goal and first since September 2009. Clark entered the game as a substitute in the 86th minute.
The U.S. had five times as many shots as Venezuela, many of the opportunities from short range, but the shots were either wide of the target, or saved by Morales, who made at least three top-notch saves to keep Venezuela in the game.
Overall a good win for the US and Klinsmann was enthusiastic in describing what he saw from his team, which was mostly made up of Major League Soccer players.
“When you look at that team we brought in for this camp, it’s all hungry, good players that want to make the next step,” Klinsmann said. “They want to know where is my next level, how do I get to the next level.”
“We sent them on the field with the guidance to say take charge of the game,” Klinsmann said. “Push it high up, be confident, move forward, and always stay compact, always stay together as a unit, and they implemented everything we told them, exact. We wanted to give them a feeling that they can play with these nations.
“It took them 15, 20 minutes until they realized we just need to push it higher up, we just need to be more confident… and then we started with great chances. Three 100 percent ones in the first half and then six, seven in the second half.”
And when it mattered most at the end of the game, the US players had energy to burn. Enough, at least, for one final push for a winning goal that paid off when Jermaine Jones found Ricardo Clark for a header in the eighth minute of stoppage time.
“We told the players before the match. ‘You put in so much for two and a half weeks, early-morning runs, two training sessions afterwards,’” Klinsmann said. “They showed tremendous attitude and effort. And we just said, ‘Now get the reward for it.’”
The United States plays Panama in Panama City on Wednesday.