The U.S. Men’s National Team began training in Cincinnati on Friday and one of its rising stars arrived for his first training session this camp.
Christian Pulisic trained on Friday after being given an extended break following the conclusion of his final season with Borussia Dortmund. Pulisic also got to meet with his new club Chelsea before joining up with the USMNT ahead of its final friendly, Sunday against Venezuela.
The 20-year-old is expected to play a major role for the USMNT under head coach Gregg Berhalter and is excited to be back after a short rest.
I feel great. I’m really excited to be back here with the guys,” Pulisic said following training. “I felt good in my first training, my legs feel pretty good. I got a nice rest, but now I’m ready to go.”
It’s assumed that Pulisic will appear on Sunday at Nippert Stadium as the USMNT tries to bounce back from its first defeat under Berhalter. Pulisic’s arrival adds a familiar face to the team’s attack, one that failed to do much in a 1-0 loss to Jamaica on Wednesday.
The team will kickoff group stage play on June 18th against Guyana before taking on tougher tests against Trinidad & Tobago and Panama. It will be the first meeting between the USMNT and T&T since Nov. 2017, a 2-1 loss for the Americans which ended their hopes of World Cup qualification.
“It’s not going to change anything. Obviously, I want some revenge, I want to beat them [Trinidad & Tobago],” Pulisic said. “The team is going to go out and give it everything. We want to win that game.”
“We want to build, we want to learn, and continue to grow within this team,” he said. “But when it comes down to it, it’s a tournament, and everyone wants to win. I would love to win it.”
Pulisic was expected to make Berhalter’s 23-player roster, which also saw the likes of Weston McKennie and Tyler Adams chosen. Veterans Michael Bradley and Jozy Altidore have also been included, adding many years of experience both domestically and internationally.
Several younger players were also named to the roster like Duane Holmes, and Tyler Boyd. Holmes made his USMNT debut on Wednesday being one of the lone bright spots in the match, while Boyd is still seeking his first cap for the team. The mixture of ages in Berhalter’s squad gives the head coach different options, all of which will be needed in the Gold Cup.
“It’s nice to have some guys like Michael [Bradley] and Jozy [Altidore] here again,” Pulisic said. “It’s cool to mix them in. I think it’s a good balance. I think it’s important. It’s going to help the team moving forward, especially in this tournament.”
Sunday’s final tune-up will see the USMNT take on a Venezuela side that is also preparing for a summer tournament. La Vinotinto is coming off a 3-1 friendly loss to Mexico in Atlanta, and will begin group stage play in the Copa America on June 15th. Although it will be the first meeting between these teams since 2017, it will still be a positive test for the USMNT before competitive matches begin.
“[Venezuela] is going to be a good opponent that’s going to test us, and just prepare us, and help us learn and be ready for the Gold Cup,” Pulisic said.