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.”

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