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Christian Pulisic delivers assist to help Chelsea secure place in UEFA Champions League final

The UEFA Champions League final will feature U.S. Men’s National Team players on both participants after Christian Pulisic’s Chelsea secured its place in the final on Wednesday by beating Real Madrid in the semifinals.

Pulisic came off the bench and helped set up a Mason Mount goal in the 85th minute to secure the series victory for Chelsea, which posted a 2-0 win in Wednesday’s second leg.

Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel made the controversial decision to leave Pulisic out of the starting lineup, but that didn’t stop the American from coming off the bench and making an immediate impact. Pulisic led a strong Chelsea surge to close out the match against a tiring Real Madrid side, and Pulisic delivered the series-clinching assist to Mount to go along with the goal he scored in the first leg in Madrid.

The result means Pulisic and Chelsea will face off against Zack Steffen and Manchester City in the Champions League final on May 29 in Istanbul.

Pulisic and Steffen are in line to be the first Americans to dress for a final, and the winner will join Jovan Kirovski as the only USMNT players to earn a winner’s medal (Kirovski earned a winner’s medal with Borussia Dortmund in 1997, but was not in uniform for the final).

 

Comments

  1. I didn’t see Pulisic as looking particularly miserable after the game, and as simon and Gary said, I don’t think it was actually so bad to keep him in reserve until later. He did add more energy and more focus immediately, and if the aggregate score had been tied at that point, he could have kept going for another 30 minutes plus penalties, which has to have been in the back of Tuchel’s mind, since the guy is not stupid. As it was, Werner and Havertz got another long opportunity to practice finishing *ahem*, and Pulisic saved his strength and avoided being subjected to constant hacking and attempts to injure him. And now Pulisic is still fresher for the weekend, which may actually be a harder game, namely, away to Manchester City. Right? So if Pulisic looked frustrated at all, it might have been partly at any questions that didn’t seem to comprehend that whole background situation.
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    In Tuchel’s interviews he has been so complimentary about almost all his players, and about the camaraderie they are managing to establish, which is surely the last step toward making the whole greater than the sum of the parts, just as with the USMNT. I would like to believe that most players too are aware that in this crammed pandemic season, the last thing any of them need is to always have to play two strenuous games week in week out with no rest. If this ultra-rich outfit has a bench that is deep enough, at least in the crowded midfield and forward positions, to play different combinations of players and rotate enough to keep everyone relatively healthy and relatively in practice, surely they can all see that that’s mostly a good thing for their chances of achieving something as a group, even if in another year they would all ideally prefer to be considered a “starter.” Distinctions like having a single “starting team” may just be less useful this year, along with the concept of an “away game.” Radical idea: Chelsea might even have more useful depth up front than Man City?
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  2. @ I scored, I don’t think anyone would suggest that Pulisic is having and will continue to have a better “club” career than LD, but the test comes internationally! If CP can score game winners in a WC like he did at the 2002 and 2010 WC’s or score bangers versus Brazil like LD did in the Confederations Cup, or play the set up man like we saw LD do for a decade internationally, he’ll have surpassed LD in general terms…but he hasn’t yet, so for me he’ hasn’t surpassed Landon. And people can rail against LD’s scoring and assists records internationally but until someone surpasses him there too he’s still the GOAT for me, because at the end of the day you can only be great against the teams put in front of you

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    • “isn’t having and will not continue to have a better club career” is what I meant to say in the first sentence LOL

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    • I think you can have different greatest NT player and greatest player. Pulisic is far more talented but you are right he hasn’t done as much for the NT. Pulisic’s 26g 25a in Top 3 Leagues and 5g 8a in European Competitions puts him on a different level than LD’s MLS records. Pulisic’s scoring and assist rates are higher in NT games as well but missing the WC keeps him behind LD for now.

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      • and that’s the thing, we saw what LD could have potentially done if he had stayed in Europe during his short stint with Everton, he was almost unplayable and won player of the month for the club for 2 months in a row….he was scoring goals and played set up man, similar to what he was doing internationally and at club level in MLS so he was consistent

      • and some people will say that him being there only 2 months at a time allowed him to play like he did, but I would argue that the impact he made in uch a short period of time was incredible because he didn’t get or need time to acclimatize to the league, he ame to England and was impactful right away…that’s was impressive and almost unheard of!

  3. Not that I agree with it, but there was apparently the pre-game Tuchel comment made about height on (defending?) set-pieces along with wanting him off the bench. I suppose that was the 0-0 and you’re through mentality, coupled with the highly-likely scenario of 1-1 into extra-time meaning Pulisic off the bench would be that much more important.

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  4. Although a bit disappointed, I wasn’t surprised that Tuchel used him as a late sub. It actually worked out perfectly from Chelsea’s point of view. Madrid had been controlling the game much of the second half until Pulisic came on,then Chelsea presented one threat after another.You also have to hand it to Tuchel and the organizational structure he has imposed on Chelsea. They rarely left any gaps and worked together perfectly to cover one another.

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    • Another point could be Tuchel probably had already had 90 minutes regulation, plus 30 minutes extra time incorporated into his overall game plan tactics before selecting the starting 11. Pulisic’s coming off the bench fresh with skills & pace when the Madrid players are starting to tire having been running for 60+ minutes will definitely create even more advantages for Chelsea than Pulisic did if he started this game. My 2 cents.

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  5. I figured he didn’t start him because he’s the one guy who could provide a spark off the bench vs a tired team.. Still didn’t like it

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  6. Pulisic has done everything Tuchel has asked of him. After being player of game last time, he gets benched. He is too good to accept that.

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    • I have no idea why Pulisic didn’t start, but Tuchel is clearly grinding out results and points, so players have to just go along with it. Back to back Champs League finals with two separate teams not named Real Madrid, Barcelona and Bayern has to be worth something

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      • I would go with Alfred L Randall’s explanation as the only one that remotely makes sense. I’ll give Tuchel the benefit of the doubt and go with that and the notion that he wanted Pulisic available at the end because he figured it’d be pivotal and indeed he was…whatever, it worked, so Tuchel’s a genius today. Pulisic is definitely not the most rugged player around so you do understand why Tuchel might feel like he has to be careful with him.

    • lol I’m not going to lie, I was never annoyed by Tuchel cause Pulisic been injury prone all season but I was a little ticked today. Hey, he got the result but still Pulisic should have started. He didn’t start over the weekend either

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    • I may be wrong and it could have been purely tactical but he may bot have started because of the yellow card he received in the first leg. Tuchel may not have wanted to risk an outside chance that he was booked again and suspended for the final.

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  7. Fantastic composure for both his goal in Madrid and tonight’s assist. We’ve finally got a world-class player on our hands.

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    • Excellent to see Pulisic rising to the challenge and staying fit. Deservedly called world class.

      To your comment I would, however, say that Landon Donovan deserves more credit. While Pulisic may end up being the better player, he is one of many we have now. LD was an anomaly of his time, making him all the more impressive. People will forever dismiss LD because he was less motivated by the competition to be the best or by personal accolades than he was by having fun and being true to himself. That, too, shows just how special LD was. To achieve all he did, hold 4 records at the same time (All-time leading scorer and assist leader USMNT and All-time leading scorer and assist leader MLS) and be player of the month multiple times at Everton during his loan spells and then retire early? LD still remains the best USMNT of all time.

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      • Donovan was a talented player. But Pulisic is a talented player at a very different level. Pulisic is best American player ever. A good bit better than Donovan. Deuce is second best player after Pulisic.

      • Ok a player of the month a few times during loans spells at Everton or one of the best epl players in project restart for Chelsea? I’ll go CP. Barely played in Bundesliga to played every weekend regularly and scored and assisted? I’ll go CP. Never won a European trophy to a DFB pokal cup and a possible champions league trophy? I’ll go CP. All those camp cupcake goals and assists to who knows what this kid might do? Ill go CP. Grow up Peter Pan

    • 180 mins. 3 Chelsea goals. Pulisic scored 1 and assisted 1. Which were both world class. Played half those mins.
      Werner’s goal, pure luck. Literally only scenario where blockhead cldnt miss. Its embarrasing anytime that #10 sits behind him. Anyone see CPs post interview? Seems miserable.
      Hope he has an impact on winning the final then really hope he tells Tuchel to F off and pushes a transfer. Wldnt be surprised if Madrid calls this summer.

      Was surprised how disapointing the non english teams were. PSG was a disaster and Real were a shell of themselves without teeth. The Lewandowski injury changed everything.

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      • Pulisic was hardly miserable after the match but did say what you want a competitive player to say, he wants to start every match and he does not like it when he does not. Not sure why he would want to transfer from a team that is about to play for a champions league title to a team that is going to be starting a major rebuild in the midst of financial problems.

      • I don’t think Wes will ever get in that conversation because he isn’t going to score enough goals. He’s much more of a two way player but those kind of stats don’t get people excited in GOAT discussions.

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