Christian Pulisic was injured as he scored his goal. (Yukihito Taguchi-USA TODAY Sports)

By Michael Lewis
FrontRowSoccer.com Editor

The United States’ 1-0 World Cup win over Iran on Tuesday might have come at a great cost.

The result boosted the Americans into the knockout round, but it might turn into a Pyrrhic victory with the loss of its marquee player, Christian Pulisic, at Al Thumama Stadium in Qatar.

Pulisic, who scored the lone goal of the highly anticipated confrontation, suffered a stomach injury on the play. That forced the 23-year-old standout to leave the Group B match at halftime. That put his availability to compete in the Round of 16 against the Netherlands on Saturday into question.

The USA, which snapped a five-game winless streak going back to June, finished the group undefeated at 1-0-2 and five points, while Iran exited the tournament at 1-2-0 and three points.

Long before kickoff, this encounter was strife with controversy due to the political tensions between the two countries, although none of that animosity entered the field of play.

The Americans dominated the opening half from start to finish. In fact, they did everything but score a goal until Pulisic found the range in the 38th minute, although it was feared the goal would have come at great cost.

Right back Sergino Dest, who had been attacking down the flank for most of the first half, headed a Weston McKennie cross to Pulisic, who was charging to the middle of the box. The Hershey, Pa. native slammed the ball home from close range as he collided with goalkeeper Alireza Beyranvand in the 38th minute.

It was Pulisic’s first World Cup goal and 22nd of his international career.

Beyranvand’s knee slammed into Pulisic’s mid-section as the forward laid in the net for several minutes as he was worked on by USMNT doctors. He finally got up, walked gingerly and slowly toward the U.S. bench before he returned to the action in the 43rd minute.

The Americans also lost striker Josh Sargent to a second-half injury.

The USA had several close encounters in the first half. Tim Weah put the ball into the net from the left side eight minutes into stoppage time, but he was called offside.

Brenden Aaronson replaced Pulisic, who was taken to a nearby hospital, at halftime.

Iran pushed for the equalizer in the second half as he forced the issue. Whether it was errant shots or some fortunate defensive play, the Asian side could not level the match as goalkeeper Matt Turner recorded his second clean sheet of the tournament.

Some 10 minutes  of second-half injury time certainly led to some nail-biting and crazy moments for the U.S. squad.

Three minutes into stoppage time, Morteza Pouraliganji sent a short header off a free kick wide left of the USA net.

Second-half substitute Walker Zimmerman made a huge play in stoppage time as he cleared the ball out of harm’s way and an empty net after Turner allowed the ball to slip through his legs with an Iranian attacker in front of him.