Christian Pulisic: “We have to go and play like we’re good enough to be out there, be confident.” (Dennis Schneidler-USA TODAY Sports)

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — There was no doubt in Christian Pulisic’s mind.

He knew one of the reasons why the U.S. played a sub-par match against Mexico in its 3-0 international friendly loss at MetLife Stadium Friday.

“We still play with fear against them, and that is what I can’t really live with,” he said. “That needs to change.”

The U.S. dropped the Concacaf Gold Cup final to the Mexicans in July.

While the Americans held their own in the opening 20 minutes, El Tri took control the rest of the way.

“We have to go and play like we’re good enough to be out there, be confident and play without thinking twice about it,” Pulisic said. “That’s how it needs to be, and that’s just not where we’re at right now.”

The U.S. had an opportunity to get on the scoreboard when it was awarded a penalty kick in the 88th minute. Pulisic handed Josh Sargent, the American star of the Under-17 and U-20 World Cups, took it. His attempt, however, was saved by goalkeeper Jonathan Orozco.

“Christian felt very confident in myself,” Sargent said. “I was unfortunate not to make that one, but it happens and I look forward to the next one.”