College Football and Football Analyst
DOHA, Qatar — America needs a hero.
It all hinges on the U.S. men’s national team’s matchup against Iran on Tuesday. It was arguably the most important moment in the program’s history. After failing to qualify for the last World Cup, everything was geared towards this moment.
So Christian Pulisic – nicknamed ‘Captain America’, who starred in all the World Cup commercials and was the talisman of this historically young team – scored a blockbuster goal, Helping the USMNT to a 1-0 win over Iran was fitting and secured a place in the round of 16.
Will Christian Pulisic be healthy on Saturday?
Alexi Lalas and David Mosse react to Christian Pulisic’s injury and wonder if he will be healthy enough for the USMNT’s round of 16 match against the Netherlands.
Team USA started the game on fire, with an overwhelming sense in front of the raucous pro-Iranian crowd that a goal was coming.The breakthrough occurred in the 38th minute when left-back Jedi Robinson dribbled the ball deep into the left wing. Merry team Territory, the ball was passed back to captain Tyler Adams, who passed it to Weston McKennie near the top of the box.
The American midfielder saw Serginio Dest sprinting down the right and fired a perfect ball into the box before the full-back headed across the middle to Pulisic, who Hit the far post and scored with a volley from the inside of his right foot.
“How many of those goals has he scored in his career?” Adams said with a laugh. “I mean, defender, he’s been fantastic with the timing of getting into the box. To get in front of the ball, you know, he’ll do anything for this team so we win.
“It’s a huge game for us.”
Courageous, determined and courageous, Pulisic risked his life to score his first World Cup goal at just 24 years old.
Pulisic breaks through!
Christian Pulisic’s storming goal in the 38th minute gave the USMNT the game-winning goal.
Pulisic stayed on the ground inside the goal as the Al Thumama stadium erupted and the American players celebrated. He collided with Iranian goalkeeper Alireza Beiranvand and needed help. His team-mates quickly signaled staff to come onto the pitch, and during tense minutes, Pulisic was unable to stand upright and had to rely on team trainers to help him walk.
Later on the sidelines, he attempted a jog before grabbing the trainer again for support. Finally, he took a sip of water and ran to halftime to end the first half.
The American winger was clearly in pain as he returned to the pitch, however, grimacing, putting his hands on his knees and bending over. Pulisic did not return in the second half and was replaced by Brendon Aronson.
Pulisic was then taken to hospital for an abdominal scan, and the US Soccer Association announced hours after the game that Pulisic had been diagnosed with a pelvic contusion. His status is listed as daily.
The USMNT will face the Netherlands in the knockout round on Saturday (10AM ET on FOX and the FOX Sports App). Can Pulisic play?
McKennie told reporters after the game that he sent a text message to his old teammates and friends asking about the situation, and Pulisic replied: “Better believe I’ll be ready on Saturday.”
Pulisic is ‘Man of the Match’
Sacha Kljestan named Christian Pulisic ‘Man of the Match’ in USA’s 1-0 win over Iran.
While the injury wasn’t part of the plan, Pulisic had been waiting and dreaming about this moment his whole life. Especially since that fateful night in October 2017, when the US national team lost 2-1 to Trinidad and Tobago and was eliminated from the 2018 World Cup. Then 19-year-old rising star Pulisic scored the only goal for the US team, giving his team hope. That moment inspired and shaped the last four years of his life and career.
Pulisic arrived at this World Cup feeling all the pressure to perform and be the star that America wants and wants him to be.
His resume – which includes playing for Chelsea in the Premier League and being the first USMNT player to appear and win a Champions League final – is ripe by any means. Pulisic set up Tim Weah’s goal against Wales in the opening game, but the United States will need more from him in order to qualify.
Just sacrifice your own body.
“Christian made those runs, the way he did, that’s the special quality he has,” coach Greg Berhalter said. “Once the ball goes wide, he goes into the box and something good happens and you score.
“We saw him score a lot of goals in the same type of running at Chelsea. He broke into the box and made it very difficult for defenders by changing the tempo.”
On “FIFA World Cup Tonight,” Chad Ochocinco and Maurice Edu discuss the USMNT and Christian Pulisic’s brave performance in defeating Iran.
Berhalter told his team before the game that this is exactly how Team USA scores. They used the same type of play against England, with teams shifting to one side, forcing the opponent to do the same, thus leaving chances on the weak side. McKennie hit the right ball, Dest timed his run well and headed home, Pulisic predicted where the ball would be and put it into the back of the net.
“These guys executed it flawlessly,” Berhalter said.
After the game, the USMNT FaceTimed their conquering hero in the locker room because he couldn’t be there to jump around and celebrate with them. Berhalter said Pulisic was in good spirits, as evidenced by a flurry of social media posts in the ensuing hours.
Pulisic actually ended the game in the hospital and rushed his teammates back to the hotel just in time to surprise them, greet them and film them walking into the lobby. The genuine smile on his face is a classic representation of the tight-knit brotherhood this team celebrates.
Weah walked in first, saw Pulisic and gave him a bear hug. DeAndre Yedlin gave him one too.Kellyn Acosta commented on an Instagram post by Pulisic, “You lost this [crown emoji]”
The White House released a video of President Biden announcing to the crowd in Bay City, Michigan, “America beat Iran 1-0. Game over! … Anyway, just thought you might want to hear.”
Pulisic has given numerous media interviews in Qatar, but his team-mates and coach have commented on how focused and focused he has been since the team’s arrival a few weeks ago.
Pulisic was smiling in the tunnel and during the national anthem before the team hit the field on Tuesday night. Who knew it would be a telling detail of what was to come? A moment to define a legacy, as American legends Landon Donovan and Clint Dempsey did before him.
As McKenney rightly noted, any of the 26 players on the roster “would be willing to put their bodies on the line to make sure this team is successful.”
Spend a day on this team and it’s clear that’s it.
But in this particular game, it was Pulisic who put it all on the line, and now the Americans’ stay in Doha has been extended a bit.
“He left everything out there,” goalie Matt Turner said. “That’s who he is.”
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