Christian Pulisic's return to training is good news for USMNT and Chelsea

Thursday was like any other chilly fall morning recently at Cobham, Chelsea'a training center southwest of London, except for one thing.

Christian Pulisic was at training.

The 23-year-old American hasn't trained with Chelsea since August. First, he tested positive for Covid-19, which required him to quarantine before he was cleared to travel to the United States for the start of World Cup qualifying. Then, he returned with an ankle sprain suffered in the second half of the USA's 4-1 win at Honduras.

In recent weeks, Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel stressed there was no long-term concern about the stability of Pulisic's ankle, but that the injury was painful and had set him back.

The injury wasn't the first since Pulisic arrived at Chelsea in 2019. He's started just 38 of 85 Premier League games since joining the Blues from Borussia Dortmund.

While it remains to be seen how soon Pulisic will be able to play again and for how long, his presence at training is good news for both Chelsea and the USA.

Chelsea, which is first place in the Premier League and second in its UEFA Champions League group, is without Romelu Lukaku (ankle injury) and Timo Werner (hamstring) and has three games before the November break: Newcastle United and Burnley in the Premier League and Malmo in the Champions League.

Pulisic's return to training increases the chances that he will be called up when the U.S roster for the matches against Mexico and Jamaica is announced next week. How much playing time he would get remains to be seen, but his availability would be a boost for the USA, which will likely be without Gio Reyna for the second straight window.

There has not been much good news out of the U.S. attacking corps in October.

Gyasi Zardes scored twice in the Columbus Crew's 4-0 win over Inter Miami in his first game back but was injured in his next game and will likely miss the November qualifiers. Of the 11 attacking players Coach Gregg Berhalter used in the first two qualifying windows, Zardes is the only one who has scored in the last two weeks.

U.S. wingers:
Brenden Aaronson (RB Salzburg/AUT)
Qualifying: 6 games, 401 minutes, 2 goals, 1 assist.
Only attacking player to play in all six U.S. qualifiers and an automatic choice in the Salzburg lineup behind its two forwards, 20-year-old Noah Okafor and 19-year-old Karim Adeyemi. Has played 17 of 19 games for Salzburg, which has yet to lose this season and leads its UEFA Champions League group.

Paul Arriola (D.C. United)
Qualifying: 2 games, 135 minutes.
A groin injury forced him out of the starting lineup after pregame warm-ups against Costa Rica. He returned to play first 45 minutes in D.C. United's 1-0 win over the New York Red Bulls on Wednesday night.

Konrad de la Fuente (Marseille/FRA)
Qualifying: 2 games, 72 minutes.
Cooled off after a fast start for Marseille when he had assists in two of its first three games. Still in the mix in Jorge Sampaoli's attack. Missed a good chance late in Sunday's Le Classique (0-0 tie with PSG).

Matthew Hoppe (Real Mallorca/ESP)
Qualifying: 1 game, 18 minutes.
Started one game for Mallorca before October window but hasn't played since then.

Christian Pulisic (Chelsea/ENG)
Qualifying: 2 games, 151 minutes.
Scored on opening day of 2021-22 Premier League season but has played for Chelsea since then, a span of almost 11 weeks.

Gio Reyna (Bor. Dortmund/GER)
Qualifying: 1 game, 90 minutes.
Hasn't played since suffering a hamstring injury in the opening qualifier at El Salvador. Before last Saturday's game against Arminia Bielefeld, Dortmund coach Marco Rose said there was no sign yet when Reyna will be back in action. He was at Sunday's MLS game in Austin, where his father, Claudio Reyna, is the sporting director at Austin FC.

Tim Weah (Lille/FRA)
Qualifying: 3 games, 162 minutes.
Started both Ligue 1 games since his return after the October window, the first as the lone forward, the second on the right wing, where he is expected to start on Friday when Lille faces Paris St. Germain, the club at which he started pro career. Already played 600 minutes this season and assisted on two goals but still looking for his first goal.

U.S. center forwards
Jordan Pefok
(Young Boys/SUI)
Qualifying: 2 games, 109 minutes.
Scored nine goals in his first 15 games for Young Boys. Hasn't scored in his last four games after not being called up for October qualifiers.

Ricardo Pepi (FC Dallas)
Qualifying: 4 games, 267 minutes, 3 goals, 2 assists.
Made three 90-minute appearances in the week before October window.  A minor foot injury kept him out of the first FC Dallas match after play resumed. Limited to 21 minutes off bench in the last two games for FC Dallas, which is out of the playoffs.

Gyasi Zardes (Columbus Crew)
Qualifying: 3 games, 93 minutes.
Injured: MCL knee sprain will likely keep him out of rest of MLS season and November window.

Josh Sargent (Norwich City/ENG)
Qualifying: 3 games, 116 minutes.
Still looking for first Premier League goal. Started last two games for Norwich City, which remains winless after nine games.

2 comments about "Christian Pulisic's return to training is good news for USMNT and Chelsea".
  1. Bob Ashpole, October 29, 2021 at 2:19 p.m.

    Most importantly, it is good news for Pulisic.

  2. Craig Cummings, October 29, 2021 at 2:41 p.m.

    Who is the 2nd leading american scorer in Europe? Is he being  asked to camp? Ex LAFC player.

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