Christian Pulisic’s 10 Greatest Moments (Thus Far)
Maybe you’ve heard already, but this Christian Pulisic guy is pretty good. At 18, the Borussia Dortmund and U.S. men’s national team star has proven himself to be one of the best Americans in the game today. He has an impeccable first touch, composure in the box beyond his years and makes impressive runs on and off the ball.
With the 2017-18 Bundesliga season nearly here, here’s a look back at the 10 greatest moments of Pulisic’s career (thus far).
One of seven assists for Christian Pulisic in a U.S. jersey, this stands out as one of his best plays for his country. Four days after having two assists and a goal in a 6-0 win over Honduras in a World Cup qualifier on March 24, Pulisic assisted on the only goal in a 1-1 draw with Panama.
There is so much quality in this one play that it’s hard to believe this match was played nearly a year to the day of Pulisic’s national team debut. First, he doesn’t give up on a pass that’s out of his range, instead engaging a defender and fighting for possession. Then he has the strength to fend off the larger defender to gain possession and the speed to scoot by him. Once Pulisic nears the six-yard box, he has the awareness and composure to let a second defender run by him, look up and find Clint Dempsey for an easy goal.
Dempsey and Pulisic haven’t been teammates with the USMNT for long, but they already appear to have a great relationship. The goal was No. 56 in Dempsey’s USMNT career, putting him one behind Landon Donovan for first place on the U.S. all-time list. While Dempsey and Donovan are currently tied at 57, Pulisic may one day catch them both.
It was a 27-minute cameo in a 2016 summer friendly in which he didn’t score or set up a goal, but Pulisic showed off some impressive skills against Ecuador in his fifth appearance for the U.S.
In the 92nd minute (3:30 in the video above) Pulisic made a few Ecuador defenders look silly. First, Pulisic displayed the determination to win the ball back after he had lost it, aggressively fighting to regain possession. He then spent seven seconds running around a few Ecuadorans, holding off his opponents or dribbling around them before passing to a teammate.
Christian Pulisic showed his skill against Ecuador, and he might just be the best young USMNT talent ... ever.https://t.co/PRuhGyVWtv
— SB Nation (@SBNation) May 26, 2016
Pulisic was making his mark in red, white and blue long before he made his debut with the senior team. In 2014, playing with the U-17s, Pulisic scored this impressive goal for a 1-0 road win over Panama.
At the age of 16, Pulisic took it upon himself to win this match, picking up the ball from a wide area and making his way to the edge of the six-yard box to fire home from close range. Pulisic went past three defenders like they weren’t there.
Pulisic has long been on the U.S. national team radar and in 2015 he was given the captain’s armband and the No. 10 jersey for the U.S. at the U-17 World Cup in Chile. In a 2-2 draw with Croatia, Pulisic scored the opening goal with some of his now customary composed finishing and supplied an assist for the second goal.
The U.S. ultimately flamed out in the group stage with two losses and a draw, but Pulisic played a role in two of the Americans’ three goals.
Pulisic isn’t the first American nor will he be the last to join the Bundesliga, but for him to sign with Borussia Dortmund at age 15 was a remarkable moment. Other USMNT players have had similar opportunities in Germany, but most were German born.
Pulisic, from Hershey, Pennsylvania, could have gone to smaller clubs with easier first teams to break into, but instead opted for the German club in 2015 because of the status of the academy. Nonetheless, alongside world-renowned stars and World Cup winners, Pulisic made his Bundesliga debut on Jan. 30, 2016, less than a year after joining the youth team. By February, he had already made his first start. Earlier this year, Pulisic signed a contract extension (above photo).
At the age of 17 years, six months and 13 days, Christian Pulisic became the youngest player to feature in a World Cup qualifier for the United States when he entered the match against Guatemala in the 81st minute on March 30th, 2016.
The USMNT won easily, 4-0, but in the decades to come the match will be remembered for cap-tying Pulisic to the U.S. Pulisic had the option of playing for Croatia, where his grandfather was born.
Truly blessed to make my #USMNT debut! Great win for the team! Let's go U23's!!
— Christian Pulisic (@cpulisic_10) March 30, 2016
It was only a friendly, but it’s always important to get that first one out of the way. On May 28, 2016, about two months after making his U.S. debut, Pulisic scored his first goal with the U.S. men’s national team, the fourth for his team in a 4-0 win over Bolivia.
The goal itself wasn’t spectacular by any means, though his accurate finish is something many U.S. forwards have struggled with on the international stage. Since that goal, Pulisic has tallied six more goals for the red, white and blue. He’s also doled out seven assists.
At 17 years, six months and 30 days old, Pulisic scored his first Bundesliga goal, becoming the eighth youngest player to score in the league. In his seventh Bundesliga appearance on April 17, 2016, Pulisic used his first touch to bump past a defender and fired low and hard to the near post for the goal against Hamburg SV.
Perhaps more impressively, Pulisic followed that goal with another a week later. The American became the youngest player to score two goals in one season in the Bundesliga.
At the age of 15, Pulisic was named the MVP after a 4-1 victory over Brazil in the final of the Nike International Friendlies tournament on Dec. 13, 2013. Pulisic scored a goal and had an assist.
This was perhaps Pulisic’s coming out party. The U.S. youth program may have known what they had in Pulisic, but by leading the Americans to a convincing win over Brazil in a prestigious U-17 tournament at the age of 15, Pulisic was becoming known on the world stage and caught the eye of Borussia Dortmund scouts.
While Pulisic has and will play in bigger competitions, this was the match that set him on the path to stardom.
OK, this is kind of a copout, combining a string of performances into the top choice, but there were just too many moments from earlier this year.
By the summer of 2017, Pulisic’s performances at both the club and national team levels made it clear he was not just a starter with both Dortmund and the U.S., but a key player too. No longer was Pulisic just a young kid with loads of talent — he showed he’s one of the best players in U.S. coach Bruce Arena’s player pool and one of the first players named to a team sheet each match.
Pulisic finished the 2016-17 season with six goals along with nine assists while making 22 starts for Dortmund. He scored his first career Champions League goal and helped his club win the DFB Pokal Cup.
A first title for USMNT’s Christian Pulisic! pic.twitter.com/qmHHqaQFte
— B/R Football (@brfootball) May 27, 2017
With the national team, Pulisic made five starts in the first half of 2017, scoring four goals in five starts to go with two assists. Against Trinidad & Tobago in a World Cup Qualifier, Pulisic scored his second career brace with the USMNT in a 2-0 win. He also helped the Americans earn a vital point against Mexico in the Azteca in World Cup Qualifying.
— ESPN (@espn) June 9, 2017