Christian Pulisic and the expectations game

For just the second time in the last year, Christian Pulisic is with the U.S. national team, preparing for matches against England on Thursday and Italy on Tuesday.

Interim head coach Dave Sarachan says he's delighted to have Pulisic back, but he wants to downplay expectations about what he will bring to the team.

Between injuries and the need for rest, Pulisic has made only once appearance for the USA since the night he was left crying on the field at Ato Boldon Stadium in Couva after the USA lost to Trinidad & Tobago and was knocked out of the World Cup.

That game came against Bolivia at the end of the Bundesliga season and following a trip to Los Angeles with Borussia Dortmund, and Pulisic had one of his least influential games with the USA despite the 3-0 win over Bolivia.

Sarachan, who worked with Pulisic when he was an assistant under Bruce Arena and Pulisic was carrying the U.S. attack in the 2017 Hexagonal, says the 20-year-old Pennsylvanian is excited to be back.

"He's got a lot of friends and peers within this group," he said on the eve of the USA's match against England at Wembley Stadium, "and I think it raises our level in many ways. On the field, for sure, I think off the field, as well."

Pulisic is no longer the babe of the team. Teenagers Tyler Adams, Tim Weah and Josh Sargent are all younger than Pulisic, who turned 20 in September. But Sarachan says too many expectations shouldn't be placed on Borussia Dortmund star.

"To think that by having him now we become a magical group is unfair," he said. "But I will say any time you add quality, especially in the way that Christian can bring quality on the field, it makes us better."

Sarachan hopes Pulisic will do just that on Thursday

1 comment about "Christian Pulisic and the expectations game".
  1. R2 Dad, November 15, 2018 at 1:08 p.m.

    Of course Pulisic's special skills are a huge positive for the team, but I'm hoping now that he's going to be captain he can help our attack function at a higher level with some of that Dortmund brio. Bradley's style was to backpass us to victory; perhaps the history and chemisty between Pulisic and the younger guys can show us how we can attack at pace.

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