KANSAS CITY, Kansas — For those following the U.S. Men’s national team, any time Dortmund’s 17-year-old Christian Pulisic takes the field is a landmark. A player so young playing in a top European league and featuring regularly with the national team is something to behold.
Pulisic and the national team completed their preparation for the upcoming Copa America Saturday night with a rout of Bolivia, 4-0, at Children’s Mercy Park in Kansas City, Kans.
Few U.S. players didn’t excel in the match, but Pulisic, who came onto the pitch in the 63rd minute, made history.
After rounding a Bolivian defender, Pulisic slid the ball in past Bolivian goalkeeper Guillermo Viscarra to become the youngest goalscorer in U.S. national team history. The previous youngest scorer was Juan Agudelo at 17 years and 359 days.
“It’s incredible,” Pulisic said. “I don’t know what to say. Anytime you come across a [milestone], something big like this when something happens, it’s amazing. I’m just proud.”
He added, however, that the accomplishment isn’t distracting him from the ultimate goal: winning.
“I’m just living life,” Pulisic said. “I’m just kind of living in the moment, you know? It’s cool. Stats and stuff are cool, but I want to win this tournament coming up with this team, and that’s the overall goal. So I don’t really care about being the first goalscorer, or whatever.”
The impact of Pulisic to the match was felt quickly, as it only took him six minutes to score. The Americans combined on first-touch passes all night and scored goals from impressive passing combinations. Pulisic’s goal, off a perfect Darlington Nagbe pass, was one such combination.
Going into Copa America, which starts June 3 against Colombia in Santa Clara, Calif., for the USMNT, the national team looks set to put its best soccer on display. The team isn’t missing any players to injuries and Klinsmann seems set on a back line that works.
As for Pulisic, the Hershey, Pennsylvania native is going into Copa America having played first-team matches in the Bundesliga with Borussia Dortmund this season and starting his international career on the right foot.
U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann said he had no concerns about Pulisic’s development due to his footing at Dortmund, a club with a great history of developing young players.
“The people there, they know who to develop talent,” Klinsmann said. “They brought out very big names that won the World Cup two years ago, so they know how to handle young talent.
“He’s a wonderful kid,” Klinsmann said. “He’s grounded and he knows that he has a long way to go, but he has no fear, and this is very important: not having fear, especially when you play in our region where it becomes really physical. What you’re going to see next Friday will be very, very physical.”
Based on the recent friendlies it appears Pulisic should be in line for minutes at Copa America. Just how many remains to be seen, but Saturday’s goal should provide him some momentum as he prepares for his first senior international tournament.
“A goal always brings the confidence up so I’m feeling great now,” Pulisic said .”But I’ve always tried to be
confident no matter what happened.”