No Christian Pulisic for next two U.S. matches

On Monday, U.S. national team coach Gregg Berhalter confirmed that Christian Pulisic won't play in the deciding Concacaf Nations League matches against Canada and Cuba because of a hip injury picked up in Chelsea's 2-0 win over Watford on Saturday.

In that game, Pulisic scored for the Blues, giving him five goals in his last three games.

“This was a collaborative decision with the club looking after the best interest of the player,” Berhalter said. “These situations are always difficult because this group and the coaching staff wants nothing more than to have Christian here, but it was a risk that we just weren’t willing to take at this time.”

The U.S. coach praised Pulisic for how he has come on following a slow start to his Premier League career since signing with Chelsea from Borussia Dortmund on a $73 million transfer. All five goals came in his first starts in almost two months.

“These are the stories that you can’t write,” Berhalter said of Pulisic. “[There’s] so much work behind the scenes, so much individual work by him, so much determination to hang in there, to keep working, to keep determined, to keep battling through disappointments. And he did a great job of that. All you can do is keep supporting a player like that and be very appreciative of his effort and consistency to succeed."

Pulisic's absence will leave a void in the U.S. attack, which has struggled this fall except in the 7-0 win over a Cuba team weakened by defections.

“We’re gonna have to get creative to find that creativity,” Berhalter said. “In all seriousness, it’s about putting the right personnel on the field to be able to capitalize on some of the weaknesses that we see in Canada. We’ll use this week to determine that, but we want to be aggressive in this game and we want to score some goals.”

Also missing against Canada and Cuba will be Michael Bradley, who injured his ankle in MLS Cup against Seattle on Sunday. Starting goalkeeper Zack Steffen was previously ruled out with a knee ailment. He continues to start for Fortuna Duesseldorf but has not been training.

Steffen's Fortuna teammate, Alfredo Morales, is back after missing the October Nations League matches, as is 19-year-old Sergino Dest, who sat out the October window while deciding whether to commit to the USA or the Netherlands.

Also available to play for the first time this fall is John Brooks, who is starting again for Wolfsburg after being injured. Brooks was in camp for the matches against Mexico and Uruguay in September but left after dealing with a tight groin strain.

U.S. Roster:
GOALKEEPERS (3): Brad Guzan (Atlanta United FC; 62/0), Sean Johnson (New York City FC; 8/0), Matt Turner (New England Revolution; 0/0).
DEFENDERS (9): John Brooks (Wolfsburg/GER; 37/3), Reggie Cannon (FC Dallas; 9/0), Sergino Dest (Ajax/NED; 2/0), Nick Lima (San Jose Earthquakes; 9/0), Aaron Long (NY Red Bulls; 14/2), Daniel Lovitz (Montreal Impact; 12/0), Tim Ream (Fulham/ENG; 38/1), DeAndre Yedlin (Newcastle United/ENG; 60/0), Walker Zimmerman (LAFC; 11/2).
MIDFIELDERS (6): Sebastian Lletget (LA Galaxy; 12/2), Weston McKennie (Schalke/GER; 17/6), Alfredo Morales (Fortuna Duesseldorf/GER; 14/0), Cristian Roldan (Seattle Sounders; 18/0), Jackson Yueill (San Jose Earthquakes; 4/0), Wil Trapp (Columbus Crew; 20/0).
FORWARDS (5): Paul Arriola (D.C. United; 30/5), Tyler Boyd (Besiktas/TUR; 8/2), Jordan Morris (Seattle Sounders; 37/7), Josh Sargent (Werder Bremen/GER; 11/3), Gyasi Zardes (Columbus Crew; 54/10).

8 comments about "No Christian Pulisic for next two U.S. matches".
  1. R2 Dad, November 12, 2019 at 12:52 a.m.

    This shouldn't be a huge deal. Garber/MLS/Berhalter all believe we can qualify with mostly MLS players--let's see if it can be done with JUST MLS players. Send all the Euros back--the long travel is hard on their bodies and increases injuries when they could be resting up at home.

  2. Bob Ashpole, November 12, 2019 at 8:49 a.m.

    I look at the roster and I don't see an obvious side. 

    How the US side plays will be an excellent indication of Berhalter's coaching ability. I am worried.

  3. Phil Hardy, November 12, 2019 at 8:53 a.m.

    Can SOMEONE please explain to me why Bill Hamid is never in the squad?!?

  4. Rey Phillips replied, November 12, 2019 at 9:53 a.m.

    The obvious answer is that Berhalter doesn't selection.  Yeah, I know your question is "why didn't Berhalter select him?"  But I think it's super indicative of something that Klinsmann, Arena, Sarachan, and now Berhalter have all had the chance to select him and he has consistently been peripheral at best.  Anything anyone says would be speculation, but I can't help but think that it's partly attitude given his public remarks about being the best goalkeeper available in denigrating Guzan.  

  5. Peter Bechtold replied, November 12, 2019 at 9:58 a.m.

    Yes, Phil. I have been asking this question for some time. Nearly everyone agrees that he is the best shotstopper among American GKs. Not to make the roster of 4 GKs ?
    AND, we were told a week ago that Steffen would not play here due to injury, but he did play this weekend in Germany.
    So you think that Pulisic has a disabling injury ? Maybe. But there is another explanation, methinks.

  6. frank schoon, November 12, 2019 at 10:05 a.m.

    Well, I don't think it matters if Pulisic is present when playing against Cuba or the Faroe Islands, or whatever, and against Canada in the last game he wasn't there either although he was on the field.

  7. beautiful game, November 12, 2019 at 11:46 a.m.

    Zardes? How about a young attacker that has potential?

  8. Nick Gabris, November 13, 2019 at 11 a.m.

    Why is GZ still on this team?

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