Christian Pulisic will play for the U.S. vs. Columbia and Peru this month. (Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports)
By Michael Lewis
Christian Pulisic is back — with the U.S. national team.
After missing two September national team matches due to an injury and a pair in June, the Borussia Dortmund midfielder was recalled by interim head coach Dave Sarachan for the team’s two friendlies this month Monday.
Pulisic, who turned 20 last month, is considered the finest player of the next U.S. generation of players.
The Americans will meet Colombia in Tampa Oct. 11 and Peru in East Hartford, Conn. Oct. 16.
“I’m very excited to have Christian back in with this group for a variety of reasons,” Sarachan said. “First and foremost, his ability to change a game and influence our team in an attacking sense goes without saying. He’s in good form with Dortmund at the moment, and I know that he is excited to be back and a part of things. As we move forward, the timing couldn’t be better to have Christian back with us.”
Joining Pulisic on the team were goalkeeper Brad Guzan and midfielder and long-time USMNT captain Michael Bradley, who were absence from the team for months.
“When you are building a team, at some point there has to be the proper blend of youth and experience,” Sarachan said. “As we head into these last four friendlies of the year, I felt the timing was right to begin that transition. I think it’s important to do it earlier than a week before the Gold Cup or a World Cup qualifier. Bringing in players like Michael and Brad, who have a vast amount of experience and can be a great resource for our younger players – both on and off the field – is an important step for us at this point in time.
“We’ve begun to develop a deeper pool across the board. As we continue to offer opportunities, it will strengthen us even more. At the same time, players need to understand that there is going to be competition for spots and for playing time, and that is part of the next stage of development for many of these young guys. I think we’re going to see that competition more and more as we move forward.”
The roster (Club; caps/goals)
GOALKEEPERS (3):Brad Guzan (Atlanta United FC; 58/0), Ethan Horvath (Club Brugge/BEL; 2/0), Zack Steffen (Columbus Crew SC; 6/0)
DEFENDERS (8):John Brooks (Wolfsburg/GER; 34/3), Reggie Cannon (FC Dallas; 0/0), Cameron Carter-Vickers (Swansea City/WAL; 5/0), Aaron Long (New York Red Bulls; 0/0), Matt Miazga (Nantes/FRA; 9/1),Antonee Robinson (Wigan Athletic/ENG; 4/0), Ben Sweat (New York City FC; 0/0), DeAndre Yedlin (Newcastle United/ENG; 54/0)
MIDFIELDERS (10):Kellyn Acosta (Colorado Rapids; 19/1), Tyler Adams (New York Red Bulls; 7/1), Jonathan Amon (Nordsjælland/DEN; 0/0), Michael Bradley (Toronto FC/CAN; 140/17), Julian Green (Greuther Fürth/GER; 12/4), Weston McKennie (Schalke/GER; 6/1), Christian Pulisic (Borussia Dortmund/GER; 21/9), Kenny Saief (Anderlecht/BEL; 2/0), Wil Trapp (Columbus Crew SC; 8/0), Tim Weah (Paris Saint-Germain; 5/1)
FORWARDS (3):Andrija Novakovich (Fortuna Sittard/NED; 2/0), Josh Sargent (Werder Bremen/GER; 3/1), Bobby Wood (Hannover 96/GER; 41/12)