Christian Pulisic Leads U.S. Men to 2-0 Win Over T&T
June 08, 2017
FORTY-FIVE MINUTES into Thursday's World Cup qualifier against Trinidad & Tobago the U.S. men's national team had accomplished exactly nothing.
Captain Michael Bradley hadn't made anything happen, Clint Dempsey hadn't worked any of his magic, and Jozy Altidore couldn't make a difference.
The Yanks had logged 10 shots in the first half, and five of them were on frame—but the U.S. was underperforming in a home game against an inferior opponent in a must-win World Cup qualifier. As the second half got underway thoughts of missing out on the 2018 World Cup in Russia were starting to creep back in.
And then Christian Pulisic did it again. The 18-year-old midfielder scored twice in the space of 10 minutes to give the U.S. a two-goal lead. Bolstered by his game-changing talent, the Americans went on to win 2-0 in front of 19,188 fans at Dick's Sporting Goods Stadium in Commerce City, Colo.
With the result, the Americans moved into third place in the Hexagonal and will now face Mexico Sunday night at the Azteca hoping to get a result—but not desperate to do so.
Pulisic's first goal came seven minutes into the second break and benefitted from some quality buildup play. Darlington Nagbe pushed the ball forward, passed to Clint Dempsey, and received the ball back in the penalty area before passing back to Yedlin on the wing. The Newcastle United fullback then slid a soft cross into a dangerous spot right in front of Trinidad & Tobago goalkeeper Jan-Michael Williams.
Pulisic watched it all unfold and read the play perfectly. He saw the open space, ran into it, and stabbled Johnson's cross into the back of the net with his left foot.
Ten minutes later, Pulisic doubled the Yanks' lead by rifling a right-footed shot past Williams from 15 yards out. Yedlin was part of the buildup again but it was Jozy Altidore's one-touch pass that put Pulisic behind the T&T defense, and the Borussia Dortmund midfielder did the rest.
Pulisic has now scored or provided an assist on seven of the United States' last eight goals. He has struck paydirt six times in his last nine games for the national team. He is far and away the best player on team, and anybody who questions that is simply not paying attention.
"It took us a little while to get going," Pulisic said after the match. "We had some chances in the first half but we just couldn't put them away. Once we wore them down a little bit our quality started to come out and we showed in the end.
I feel confident right now, and we're happy as a team," he continued. "It's going to be a tough one down there, in Mexico especially, but we really want some revenge on them from when they got us earlier this year. We're really confident going into that game.
He paused for an instant and then called his shot: "We're going to come out with a win there too."