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Pulisic aims for higher level after 'incredible' experience of facing Real Madrid

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Down a goal late in Tuesday’s clash with the reigning Champions League winners, Borussia Dortmund needed a spark. If there was any hope in sealing a point at home, the German club needed someone to make a play.

That someone was Christian Pulisic.

The young American went into Tuesday’s Champions League group stage match and shined from the first minute. The U.S. Men’s National Team winger took on defender several times, leaving the Real Madrid backline on its heels. Then, with moments remaining, Pulisic set up the moment Dortmund needed, as his cross into the box found its way to Andre Schurrle for the game-tying goal.

Even in the Champions League against one of the world’s best teams, Pulisic says both he and his team have the confidence to compete in any match. That confidence was on full display on Tuesday afternoon.

“It was an amazing game to come into, especially because the level was so high,” Pulisic said after the draw. “It was such an intense game. I was excited to get in there and show what I can do to try to help the team. What a goal to score in that moment in that stadium against a good opponent. It was a great feeling for the both of us, for everyone.”

“There’s no better feeling. Playing in the Champions League is a whole other sense of pride. You watch it as a kid and coming on in such a big game, it’s incredible. I can’t describe it.”

With Tuesday’s performance, Pulisic further solidified his position within his club. After seemingly moving down the pecking order to start the season, Pulisic has made himself possible to ignore while scoring three goals and providing three assists in just nine total appearances.

“That’s the goal when you want to play professional soccer,” Pulisic said. “You want to get to the highest level you can and that’s how you get better. As such a young player, you want to play at the highest level so I can improve and be the best player I can be.”

40 comments
  • Quit Whining About Soccer in the US

    Man I hate that stupid line. I want to get to the highest level to be the best player I can be.

    That is the goal when you play pro soccer?
    How about winning the championship? Why even keep score?

    Like

    • Concorde

      bitter? yes that is the objective for many ambitious people, in many different disciplines. to be the best you need to push yourself amongst the best competition. winning those championships is then even harder and therefore sweeter. it’s called champions league for a reason.

      why even keep score? because someone once decided it was more fun that way, and we all still agree.

      Liked by 1 person

      • djdj123

        The local Kla *ahem* I mean Trump rally is down the hall, to the right and in my trash can with the other garbage.

        Liked by 1 person

      • TheFrenchOne

        djdj123: playing the race card is a sure sign that your argument was weak to begin with. I was responding to your attack on our league, based on your previous comments bashing MLS, but you decided to turn it into something entirely different (and pretty dispicable).

        Like

    • Gary Page

      Maybe it has escaped your attention, but there are 11 players on a soccer team. You can play extraordinary, but if your teammates mess up, your team can still lose. Teddy Roosevelt defined success as doing the best you can with what you have where you are. Roosevelt was a very wise man who did wonderfully well.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Joe Dirt

      I’d rather he be saying cliches like this than returning to a lower level league like MLS so he can be comfortable and near his favorite beach like Landycakes. Hope he won’t retire early too. Although I’m throwing shade on Donovan he’s still the best we’ve ever had when he wanted to be and thats my beef with Donovan he didn’t want to play UCL or in a top league it wasn’t that he couldn’t he was that level when he wanted to be. This Pulisic kid wants it and thats gold.

      Liked by 2 people

      • TheFrenchOne

        I like how you turned a post about CP into another opportunity to whine about LD destroying your fangirl dreams. You being pissed at him for “not wanting to play UCL” is like your mom being pissed at you for not trying out for that musical in 7th grade 10 years later.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Old School

      Another troll bait post.

      There was no sincerity or reasonable thought process in your post other than to provoke a hyperbolic reaction.

      Liked by 1 person

    • KenC

      “How about winning the championship? Why even keep score?”

      Because anyone who knows soccer, and sports in general, knows that the scoreline doesn’t tell the whole story. And, winning as a goal, for a team, goes without saying; but as an individual, your goal is to compete at the highest levels.

      Liked by 2 people

    • fast right leg

      Did this need to be stated? Obviously every player wants to win every match they play in, and if you never lose you will always be the champion. It’s not a thing that you say, it’s just assumed.

      Some athletes “get” it. They understand that eleven players can play at their highest level and still lose; they understand that wins and losses are team statistics but as an individual it’s about challenging yourself and being able to say that you gave it every effort to be the best you knew you could be. Pulisic is fearless in that regard, and even moreso if he has the slightest inkling as to the pressure being put on him at home by a nation that is DESPERATE to embrace the sport with a passion to match the world’s best if we can just show the willingness to raise ourselves to the top level (it’s a flaw we have as a nation of frontrunners with comparatively small histories compared other parts of the world).

      This is why, as a fan, I lament the fact that our previous talisman intentionally lowered his own ceiling so as to avoid the challenge of competition and the sting of failure, but do not begrudge him as a man because he had every right to aim lower and live happier in the comfort that he was the big fish in the small pond. He had successes, and they were many, but they’ll always seem a little like participation trophies when he looks back and realizes that he in many ways never truly reached the pinnacle of his sport (a moderately successful loan spell for a mid-table EPL squad isn’t very high, especially not compared to facing the giants of the world in the UEFA CL). If he wouldn’t give back all those MLS cups to have a run in the Champion’s League, then he’s just a coward.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Nate Dollars

        “If he wouldn’t give back all those MLS cups to have a run in the Champion’s League, then he’s just a coward.”

        or there were other things in his life that were more important to him than succeeding in europe. it seems like you know him better, though.

        Like

      • MTF

        “He had successes, and they were many, but they’ll always seem a little like participation trophies when he looks back and realizes that he in many ways never truly reached the pinnacle of his sport.”

        Donovan was basically raised to be a soccer player. He became a professional, earned more money in just a few years than the vast majority of us will over the length of our careers, retired (albeit temporarily) at the ripe young age of 32, won multiple championships in his home league of MLS, was considered the best player for his nation for a decade and still sits #1 all time for goals for his nation. Everybody needs to chill. So Donovan disappointed you and other fans…he’s a human being entitled to his own choices and his own life. If you think that Landon Donovan will look back and view his professional accomplishments as somewhat like participation trophies, I’m willing to bet that you will be mistaken.

        And keep quiet Old School.

        Like

      • fast right leg

        MTF: Did I not state as much? I don’t begrudge him as a man, but as a fan I think he sold himself, and by extension us, short. And yes, I do think (and we’ll just agree to disagree) in the back of Landon’s mind he will always know his accomplishments are a mere shadow of what they could have been. He may not regret it in the short term, but eventually it will come. He will be remembered as a stepping stone, not a legend. I hope he enjoys his status while it lasts, but I think late in his career he had already begun to regret the choice. I think he really wanted to move to Europe to build up for the 2010 WC but his value was so low that MLS couldn’t let him go. After that he became a little salty and a little complacent and it cost him the chance to play in 2014.

        Like

    • recovered amishman

      @Quit whining…it’s this sort of win at all costs pressure that has hamstrung the development of better players emerging from the youth ranks as coaches at all levels resort to route one style soccer in order to get the win. Sure, in the Champions League, winning is the goal, but it’s kind of silly to suggest that BVB would be better off if Pulisic just lowered his effort and level a little bit and stopped trying to raise his game.

      Liked by 1 person

  • MLSsnob

    After following so many youth careers and getting excited about the “next big US thing” only to watch them stall from injury, over hype or both we can finally say that we have one, a great US player who the world sees as that way too. Enjoy it, guys. It doesn’t come around too often.

    Liked by 1 person

    • fast right leg

      He could still get hurt. Maybe we should just go ahead and sacrifice John O’Brien, Charlie Davies, and Stuart Holden to make sure…

      Like

      • Turkmenbashy

        ugh, don’t remind me of poor Holden… I was shocked when an MLS team brought the dutch hammer to play in the US… I thought there was more solidarity than that… and Davies… you can’t fix stupid… but still, I so wish he had not almost killed himself… both of those guys, I feel so bad for them.

        Like

    • fast right leg

      These very conversations are a part of having success. We need more of it because it will mean more players aiming to raise their profile. You think Jordan Morris might be wishing he’d signed overseas right about now? He’s having a record season in MLS for an American rookie and every major outlet wants to talk about a guy who is just breaking into the 11 for his team across the ocean.

      One thing that stood out to me immediately after Klinsmann was hired was the fact that he said he wants to make everyone uncomfortable–players, fans, and media. It took a while to compute at the time but slowly I started to see where he was going with the idea. He said wants the fans and media questioning decisions and making big stories out of player inclusions/snubs because those are things that all passionate, successful footballing nations do. I think his want to have more players in Europe was far more about that aspect than it was about players challenging themselves against the best. His selections reinforce that because he has been even more willing to use MLS players in major competitions than even Bradley was, which is double-confusing since the hallmark of Klinsmann’s tenure as coach has been his courting of dual nationals in Europe and Mexico.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Davis, Lennon, Observer & Associates

        Exactly. I’ve known since then. JK is trying to change the culture and to do that he knew feathers would be ruffled–which is inherently the point.

        Players Can no longer be like “yea I’m twenty-something, I deserve to live happy and comfortable so I’m just gonna play at this level I know I can”. They need to challenge themselves every day. Ask themselves ‘how can I get to that next level’.

        10 years from now whether jk is still coach, we will most likely look back and thank JK for his approach

        Liked by 1 person

  • fast right leg

    “That’s the goal when you want to play professional soccer,” Pulisic said. “You want to get to the highest level you can and that’s how you get better. As such a young player, you want to play at the highest level so I can improve and be the best player I can be.”

    This, folks, is why we say crazy things like “he will be better than Landon Donovan”. Landon never understood this. He just wanted to play at a comfortable level where he knew he was better than the players around him.

    Liked by 2 people

    • TheFrenchOne

      The depth of which you understand LD’s psyche is quite impressive. Tell us more about his childhood, please.
      Is it possible, just maybe, that CP is saying the “right things” at such a young age because he has access to Twitter and knows what a professional is supposed to say during an interview? I love everything I’ve seen from CP so far, but to elevate him above LD at this point is just ridiculous and counter-productive. Not every good news about CP has to be immediately juxtaposed with LD’s career. Just let CP develop and enjoy the ride.

      Like

      • beachbum

        today’s world FrenchOne, make yourself seem better by putting down others. it’s today’s normal. and usually done by folks who’ve done nothing on the subject themselves, of course, but they know better anyway

        Like

  • DcM

    his assist was just one of a handful of great plays. he only lost the ball once but fought like hell to try and win it back. love this kid.

    Liked by 1 person

  • Dainja

    HE HATH ARRIVED.

    I’m done saying “pump the brakes.” F### IT. He’s already the best American player. Ladies and germs, we have our first international American soccer star.

    Like

  • recovered amishman

    Pulisic is proving he can the real deal. It will be interesting to see if this has any add on effects. Maybe a few more clubs will be ready to take chances on players with potential even if they are from the USA. As the first legit star, commercially, Pulisic has got to be a goldmine for BVB in terms of creating a following in the US. That will be difficult for other clubs to ignore and give them some extra incentive for playing USAmericans.

    Like

  • Turkmenbashy

    So let me begin a new debate here. Would Altidore be as good as Pulisic if, instead of going to crappy Hull and crappy Sunderland, he went to BVB (or an equally good team with quality?)

    Liked by 1 person

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