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.

No sir.

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.

No matter.

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. ┬áHe 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.

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.

Front Row Soccer editor Michael Lewis has covered 13 World Cups (eight men, five women), seven Olympics and 25 MLS Cups. He has written about New York City FC, New York Cosmos, the New York Red Bulls and both U.S. national teams for Newsday and has penned a soccer history column for the Lewis, who has been honored by the Press Club of Long Island and National Soccer Coaches Association of America, is the former editor of He has written seven books about the beautiful game and has published ALIVE AND KICKING The incredible but true story of the Rochester Lancers. It is available at