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Pulisic: We still play with fear against Mexico


EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — It was a frustrating Friday night for Christian Pulisic, who tried in vain to spark a lifeless U.S. Men’s National Team attack in a 3-0 loss to Mexico that saw the Americans start decently, but eventually settled into a funk against a superior El Tri side.

Pulisic tried his hardest to make things happen, but too often found himself battling alone, surrounded by a supporting cast in attack that never provided the Chelsea winger with enough help to seriously threaten Mexican goalkeeper Jonathan Orozco.

The result was a second straight loss to Mexico, and a lopsided scoreline that left Pulisic admitting that El Tri has a clear edge on the USMNT at the moment.

“As of right now, yes,” Pulisic said when asked of Mexico has a clear edge on the United States. “We still have to go out, we still play with fear against them. That is what I can’t really live with. That needs to change and we’re going to go out and give it everything the next time we play them.”

Pulisic wasn’t shy about criticizing the team’s overall play on Friday, which featured an attack that rarely troubled the Mexico defense, save for some individual forays by Pulisic.

“There needs to be a lot more movement and a lot more just creativity with the team, and just confidence when we go out and play against good opponents,” Pulisic said. “We have to go out and play like we’re good enough to be out there. Be confident and play without thinking twice about it and that’s how it needs to be and that’s just not where we’re at right now.”

As unhappy as Pulisic was with his team’s performance, he did also make a point to pin some of the blame for the team’s struggles on the continued implementation of Berhalter’s system.

“It’s the hardest thing in the world,” Pulisic said of the process of implementing a system like Berhalter’s. “But all the national teams are the same so we have no disadvantage there. The teams also come in and you have short periods to train and it’s hard to teach a real system and be very specific with it, so it’s not easy.”

While Berhalter stated after the match that he was happier with Friday’s USMNT performance than he was with the 1-0 Gold Cup final loss to Mexico because he felt his team made more of an effort to try and stick to the system, Pulisic acknowledged that Friday was a difficult night to endure.

“Of course there’s frustrations when you lose 3-0,” Pulisic said. “There’s always frustrations, but we have a style of play that we’re setting out, and we’re still trying to execute, Obviously today we didn’t pull it off at all times, but in the mix of things there were a few good moments, and that’s all we can take from it, and just try to continue to learn.”

Pulisic is headed back to England early, and won’t take part in Tuesday’s friendly against Uruguay, but he leaves having turned in another performance that showed why he is the team’s most important player.

“I’m out there to do everything I can to help my team win and that’s never going to change, no matter what team I’m on,” Pulisic said. “It means a lot to me, and obviously I really wanted to beat them today but in the end I personally didn’t do enough and neither did our team.”

Asked what the team can do to start finding more success in the team’s new system, Pulisic was stumped.

“It’s not an easy question,” Pulisic said. “If I knew, I think we would be better, but I think we’re taking steps in the right direction. We’re trying to play the way we are, and today just wasn’t enough.”


  1. dos a cero…no fear then. Another JK sh!tburger for us all to continue to try and digest and overcome. He did generational damage to the USMNT, after all the work to build the belief and team. JK Apologists, I await your continuing BS takes on the subject

  2. ———-Morris—-Sargent——————————————————Dest—–Morales–Pullisic— Cannon

    (No more playing out of the back) This would be my formation. Cannon and Dest will be much better playing as midfielders let defenders with potential defend in midfield while creating chances pomykal would be a great option.

  3. Read several articles most of them making excuses for berhalter. Playing out of the back is not an option we had trouble with klinnsman doing this and saw yesterday we were constantly turning over the ball playing out of the back and our goalie made a mistake choosing to play out of the back instead of clearing ball this is of course because the coach is making this a priority steffen has created a goal twice recently if we don’t get another coach now we are putting a good talented us side to waste at the detriment of going to world cup at the hex I don’t have confidence in being in the top 3 it’s going to be tough and we have lost our edge playing at home. We need an experienced coach who knows soccer and will show emotion and call out players push them as the game goes on like Bob Bradley or Peter Vermes. Where are our USMNT leaders of the past calling out and criticizing berhalter Donovan Dempsey Bocanegra etc.

    • Agree but the leaders of the past want to keep their IN status and keep their media jobs or MLS jobs in Boca’s case(Btw Kyle Martino specifically blames him for Corderios election and blocking the two change candidates in his open letter after the election). As for Dempsey, love the guy but he’s off fishing somewhere enjoying a much deserved retirement, however, I eagerly await the Return of the King and his wrath and fury will know no end. At least we can dream when he puts it all on blast.

  4. I hear you Pulisic:

    “He who is not everyday conquering some fear has not learned the secret of life.” –Ralph Waldo Emerson

    In other words – he who is not playing everyday conquering some fear of possibly losing his spot on an MLS team, has not learned the secret of controlling it while facing a better adversary

    But of course GB will not learn which will lead to his down fall just like better coaches before him ?. He will still try to force the hand of playing TWO PLAYERS…ONE, A USMNT “HAS BEEN” WITH NO SKILL OR TALENT, AND TWO; A PLAYER WITH SIMILAR PLAYING STYLE BUT EVEN LESSER TALENT (tweedle dee and tweedle dum?) which means more misery for USMNT and fans alike…..until we start skill and talent over “poster boys”

    Lets start loading up on antidepressants and tissues… its going to be a long road to glory ???

    • he’s lying. This was Berhatler’s strategy, to have two friendlies against mexico before olympic qualifiers where they underplay and get burned. I expect a friendly with mexico next spring to result in a 4-0 defeat before Pulisic and company become a scoring juggernaut and surprise mexico with a strategy and formation they didn’t see coming.

  5. Playing with fear is also handing the ball off to Sargent for the PK. I get the result was already in the bag. I get maybe you were trying to instill a little confidence in Sargent but that’s not how you go about it. Pulisic should have taken control, and walked up there and buried the PK. He should not have deferred to anyone. Overall I thought Pulisic had a decent match and was the loan bright spot. However, casually letting Sargent take that PK showed a lack of leadership.

    • @mmv

      you think not simply deferring to the default pk order but rather deciding on the fly to change things up to maybe give a shot of confidence to a newcomer shows “a lack of leadership”? i’d rather pulisic had taken the pk, but i’d say that, if anything, he was too deliberate in making a decision–just take the ball, put it in the goal–not lacking leadership.

    • A lot being made about this PK situation, but I had a completely different read on it. I saw it as Pulisic saying “go bury this and prove why you should be starting over hapless Zardes” It was a show of faith in a player he would like to play with and message to Berhalter.
      I don’t think we’d ever have seen Donovan or Dempsey give up the chance to take a pk vs Mexico but I also don’t have a huge problem with it.

      • Ronaldinho, that was my way of taking it exactly. I literally thought the exact same thing and it had to do with his body language in doing it. It wasn’t a I’m not taking this, he was trying to send a message in my opinion. This is his team for the next 10 years and he wants to be playing with his guys not Zardes and Trapp types he probably has very little respect for their level of play and accomplishments compared to his and other who have chosen to compete in Europe where your spot is earned each and every day.

  6. Yup, clearly you have fear. Our star player volunteers the ball up on a pk to a younger less experience player. Vs Mexico. Dont care the scoreline at that point. If you are any kind of leader, u take that ball, bury it, and get back to,the circle.

    Im fixated on that bc its a symbolic moment that shows everything thats wrong. When the going gets tough, in the back of his mind, hes prob like eh, this sucks, but heading back to London tomm morning.

  7. Pulisic, Lletget and Sargent were the only ones that really went at anyone. I thought we looked ok until the first goal and then we looked lost.


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