UCL: Pulisic takes the reins at Borussia Dortmund

Christian Pulisic, who turns 19 on Monday, didn't have quite the game he did in his UEFA Champions League debut a year ago, when he terrorized the Legia Warsaw defense, but he certainly was a central figure in the thrilling Tottenham-Borussia Dortmund opener to the 2017 group stage won by Spurs, 3-1, at Wembley Stadium.

Dortmund had no one to blame but itself for its sloppy defending, but it was unlucky to have a Pulisic goal called off for offside by teammate Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang at the end of the first half and Aubameyang robbed of a valid goal for another offside decision in the first half.

Dependency on Pulisic. What the game showed demonstrated was how much Dortmund  depends on Pulisic as the focal player in the construction of its attack with the departure of Ousmane Dembele to Barcelona and the absences of Andre Schurrle (still out with a thigh injury) and Marco Reus (out until 2018 with a knee injury).

When he played in Dortmund's 6-0 win at Warsaw to open its 2016 UCL group stage, Pulisic had sat out its first two Bundesliga games. This season he has played in 266 of 270 minutes in Dortmund's first three league games -- on top of two World Cup qualifiers for the USA.

Most of the Dortmund's attacks originated from the left wing, where Pulisic battled Ivorian Serge Aurier, who was making his Spurs debut after his transfer from Paris St. Germain. Pulisic did everything but score in the first half. As he tired in the second half, he still found openings but was let down by his service.

Pulisic's first half:
-- 19th minute: Pulisic cuts inside from the left wing and his shot goes off Spurs defender Toby Alderweireld for a corner.
-- 30th minute: Pulisic plays the ball back across the goal area to the far post, where Aubameyang's shot is stopped by defender Jan Vertonghen.
-- 36th minute: Aubameyang crosses the ball to the charging Pulisic, whose sliding attempt puts the ball wide of the goal.
-- 40th minute: Pulisic's cross is a tad high, and it grazes off the head of Andriy Yarmolenko, but Dortmund is awarded a corner kick.
-- 45th minute: Pulisic scores at the far post, but the goal is allowed as Aubameyang, who was in an offside position, went for the ball though didn't touch it.

Pulisic on his performance to ESPN FC: "I felt good, but I still need to do more. I need to create goals and score goals, and I couldn't do that today."

3 comments about "UCL: Pulisic takes the reins at Borussia Dortmund".
  1. Mario Cesarone, September 14, 2017 at 10:11 a.m.

    Refereing decided this game...shambolic to say the least.

  2. Mike Polonski, September 14, 2017 at 12:37 p.m.

    Why don't they use VAR in the UEFA Champions League?

  3. Vince Leone, September 14, 2017 at 12:56 p.m.

    I agree, Mike. I thought, "VAR will correct the call" but then remembered this ain't MLS! Dortmund was robbed twice.

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