Christian Pulisic will be in the Starting XI for the USMNT against Saudi Arabia. (USA TODAY Sports)
By Michael Lewis
A rare sight be will seen at Estadio Nueva Condomina in Murcia, Spain on Tuesday.
For only the second time in the new season, Christian Pulisic will be in the Starting XI for his team when the U.S. men’s national team meets Saudi Arabia in its final World Cup warm-up match.
Pulisic, who missed the USA’s 2-0 defeat to Japan on Friday due to a knock he picked up in train, will look to find his form after essentially being ignored by his club team, Chelsea, this English Premier League season.
USMNT head coach Gregg Berhalter doesn’t expect miracles from his star forward, just to be himself.
“Just Christian be Christian,” he said, which would be good enough.
“He does a great job of changing the game in moments and that’s all he needs to do. He doesn’t need to do anything more than he’s done in the past. Just needs to continue to play our game. He does everything well. He just needs to be himself. He’ll be fine.”
Pulisic has been sitting the pine more than running on the pitch for the Blues.
He has made eight appearances for the EPL side over two competitions (the UEFA Champions League included). The Hershey, Pa. native has played a total of 176 minutes in those games, four minutes shy of two full games. His lone start for Chelsea came in the 2-1 win over West Ham United on Sept. 3.
“He’s motivated,” defender DeAndre Yedlin said. :I mean, Christian is a guy that’s always motivated. He always wants to play. He’s a very important member of this team. For us it’d be very good to have him back.”
The USA will need a fit Pulisic – in mind and body – if it wants to make an impact and get out of its group in Qatar.