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“Selfless leader” Christian Pulisic inspires USMNT past Bolivia

Christian Pulisic entered the 2024 Copa America needing to be an influential player for the U.S. men’s national team and the AC Milan star certainly set the tone in Sunday’s group stage opener vs. Bolivia.

Pulisic scored a confident first-half goal before also assisting on the USMNT’s second tally in an eventual 2-0 home victory at AT&T Stadium. The USMNT captain entered the tournament fresh off a stellar first campaign with AC Milan and off of a goalscoring performance against Brazil in last week’s final pre-Copa America friendly.

With a Man of the Match performance already under his belt this summer, Pulisic is showing why he is one of the best in North America.

“He’s a selfless leader,” Berhalter told reporters postmatch. “He goes out and he just competes and works really hard, and that helps the team. And then you add to the fact that he’s highly skilled and he can make plays on the offensive end, it’s a great combination.”

“To me, it was an outstanding performance tonight,” added Berhalter.

Pulisic’s powerful right-footed strike in the third minute boosted the USMNT in front 1-0 and gave them an early confidence boost. After creating room for the shot, Pulisic watched as his 20+ yard effort repelled off the crossbar and into the back of the net, giving him his 30th career USMNT goal.

His set up pass for Folarin Balogun in the 44th minute led to the Americans padding their advantage before halftime, eventually claiming a 2-0 victory on home soil. Pulisic also won half of his individual duels (5/10), made two tackle attempts, and completed two dribbles, working tirelessly on both ends of the field.

After a strong start to his second Copa America involvement, Pulisic remains confident heading into Thursday’s showdown with CONCACAF rivals Panama.

“It’s Copa América, it’s a big tournament,” Pulisic said postmatch. “I feel like I’m always pretty excited after I score, but it’s a big moment, it’s a major tournament.”

“Every team is going to be flying, ready to fight and we don’t expect an easy game at all,” Pulisic said added about the USMNT-Panama showdown. “So we need to put on an even better performance today if we want to come out with a strong result.”

Comments

  1. How do we feel about Costa Rica’s draw with Brazil? Only Two shots both from outside the box (one a free kick), both blocked before coming near goal. 24% possession 0.03 xG. Really no attempt to win. Well organized, did well enough in 1v1s, introduced Brazil to term Concacafed but was it really an accomplishment or just negative?

    Reply
    • it says, as 6th in conmebol qualifying and the way they looked should already have hinted — that they just aren’t that good. and it’s flattering to get a result and memorable within a career but you really want it when they are at their best. like when we beat peak spain.

      i mean after i watched our game i was like hmmm maybe i have that crossover bracket not exactly right. colombia and _________. could be any of the other 3 teams. will likely reflect who keeps colombia down enough to not ruin their goal difference. even paraguay played colombia 1-2. we shall see.

      and based on uruguay whacking crosses in on panama half the night, we should have maybe brought vazquez.

      Reply
      • It might also say even at the international level if a team puts 9 guys in the box and stays organized they can hold out for a 0-0 draw. Literally CR made no effort to score. Chile using same strategy against Argentina and tied 0-0 at half no shots and only 2 touches in the box.

      • Chile falls for the trap of actually trying to win. Actually tried to possess the ball and score and it costs them. They got caught up field and had to play it out for a corner. Which got knocked out for another corner that Argentina scored on.

  2. To be fair, without Dest it’s easy to see why they built more through Jedi to CP on the left.
    Now without Dest, it’s up to the coach to figure out how to make it work since any scout can see what we can see

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    • One way to do that might be to move Pulisic to the 10 spot if it looks like he’s being marked out of a game. Not only does that make him far, far harder to isolate and deny the ball to, it puts the ball at his feet like it needs to be for far more touches a game, and the more influence Pulisic is allowed to have in a game the better it is for us anyhow. I liked Pulisic centrally for Milan when they played him there this year and I suspect as he gets older the more we’re going to see him there.

      You don’t even have to yank anyone. Especially if you’re going to make an in-game adjustment, you just shuffle Tim Weah over to LW and move Weston McKennie out to RW. McKennie did that a fair bit for Juventus this past year too.

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      • Q, over the years I’ve watched you apply logic brother and I’m gonna go out on a limb here and say the coach ain’t listening

    • uruguay looked like they like to get down the wings, around the flanks, and hit crosses from deep. i think they will test the wingbacks. panama in some of our games has given us fits wide, but who knows who shows up.

      Reply
  3. I had thought that Pulisic was over touted in his youth because he wasn’t consistent. That is why he was often in and out on his club teams. He’d look great for a game, then kind of disappear for a game or two. I think that now, if he keeps this up, he can be considered with Donovan and Dempsey among the US soccer GOAT’s.

    Reply
    • He had 65 touches, 16 more touches than Weah who played ‘86 minutes. None of Uruguay’s attackers had over 40 touches. Messi had 66 touches against Canada. Not sure you can realistically get him the ball much more.

      Reply
      • we are more productive and efficient when the ball goes through reyna and weah. the problem is that sort of pretty finish on his part is rare. to me GB has it backwards, he often ballhogs (as opposed to is selfless more like reyna) and we don’t rack up goals. i know it’s tournament soccer and a win is a win but that wasn’t all that convincing.

      • I mean let’s so our roll a little bit. “the problem is that sort of pretty finish on his part is rare”. Fastest US player to 30g. 2nd best goals per match average only behind the Pirate of the Caribbean. I agree it’s too predictable going almost always to Christian’s side, we just abandon the middle third, and dropping Gio deep is cutting off our nose to spite our face. But come on, his finishing chances isn’t rare.

      • True. Pulusic needsMesi like touches. Reyna has yet to show the ball going through him is better.

      • 2tone, I would say during the ‘23 and ‘24 NL final fours Gio has shown proof of concept.

      • reyna and pulisic are actually fairly similar on NT assists per minutes played, and i think he is better at making unselfish setup play.

        then, yes, pulisic is higher on goals per minutes played.

        if you think about it that suggests one should be feeding the other.

        you’re offering the confused “james harden” argument of literally have the guy you want to score also be the point guard which my rockets (and other teams) learned doesn’t win championships. i am not saying cut him out of the offense. i am saying i want reyna and weah feeding strikers and pulisic.

      • IV: I’m with you on the offense needs to run more through Reyna. I was just disagreeing with your it’s rare for Pulisic to finish. But I also think it’s what they’re being asked to do. Gio was very my shot first when he was played as a wing. Even when played as a wing for Dortmund he looked for his shot more. Now as an “8” he’s looking to facilitate more. It’s an example of Gregg isn’t the guy for this group anymore he can’t figure out how to get the ball out of the back without moving Gio 60 yds from goal and 30 yards from the attackers.

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