By Michael Lewis
Front Row Soccer Editor
The biggest topic of conversation in the Red Bull Arena media room prior to the Red Bulls-Real Salt Lake game was not the game, not Mike Grella’s knee injury or many things about Major League Soccer.
It was about an 18-year-old who shook the world of American soccer.
Unless you have been unconscious or in a cave, you know what Christian Pulisic was the mastermind of the U.S.’s 6-0 World Cup qualifying victory over Honduras Friday night. He scored one goal and was credited with two assists, although there was a discussion on whether he deserved a third one.
Christian Pulisic goes well beyond numbers.
As the No. 10 in the U.S. lineup — figuratively and literally — he pulled the strings of U.S. attack as the team’s much desperately needed creative central midfielder. Moreover, his running and passing cracked open the Honduran team and created chaos in the visitors’ defense. He made the players around him better, which is the mark of a special player.
Come October, we may all look back at the result and say how it saved the U.S.’s World Cup qualifying chances and buried Los Catrachos’ hopes.
We haven’t seen an American man get U.S. soccer fans this excited about a dynamic attacking force since Landon Donovan started his career almost two decades ago.
And the scary thing is that Pulisic is only 18-years-old and at the cusp of his career.
A night like Friday deserves all the highlights.Enjoy every angle of every goal from the #USMNT's 6-0 thrashing of Honduras.
تم نشره بواسطة U.S. Soccer في 26 مارس، 2017
Video courtesy of U.S. Soccer’s Facebook page
We have seen many great young American hopes come and go. For every Donovan, there are 10 players who failed to live up to the hype and potential (ie. Freddy Adu, among others).
Hopefully, he will improve, and that includes many facets: from the physical side to his vision and to his experience.
While we are all excited about Pulisic’s performances — he has shown great maturity while playing for Borussia Dortmund in the challenging Bundesliga and UEFA Champions League — we have to remember what expectations we have put on this teenagers’ back.
Of course, he could prove the concerns of yours truly all wrong with another scintillating performance in Tuesday’s WCQ in Panama. That would be even more proof that Christian Pulisic has arrived at the international level.
Me? I think he already is the real, but I don’t necessarily feel he can pull off miracles every time he steps onto the soccer field for the United States, at least just not yet.
Saying that, I would love to have him prove me wrong, so when writers gather in the press box at Yankee Stadium before the New York City FC home match against the San Jose Earthquakes Saturday, the No. 1 topic of conversation will be Christian Pulisic.
And I hope he will be the No. 1 topic for the next 15 years or so.