Next Big Thing: USMNT's Christian Pulisic Looks To Become Future Of American Soccer
The USMNT's 2-0 victory over Trinidad & Tobago on Thursday night was a "coming-out party" for F Christian Pulisic, who scored both goals in the matchup and showed fans he is the "future of American soccer," according to Mark Kiszla of the DENVER POST. The 18-year-old Pulisic is the "man for U.S. soccer, now and for the next decade." Kiszla: "We’ve never seen an American with more natural ability to score than Pulisic." All of the "hopes and dreams of Team USA now rest on the slender shoulders of a teenager" (DENVER POST, 6/9). YAHOO SPORTS' Joe Lago wrote it is apparent now that this USMNT team "clearly belongs" to Pulisic. He "came through in the clutch like a team’s best player is supposed to do." The game was Pulisic's fourth straight with a goal (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 6/8). SI.com's Grant Wahl writes it is time to "strap yourself in," because "we’re experiencing one of the most exhilarating moments that can happen in sports: The emergence of the real thing, a young talent that gives you goosebumps when he’s gliding with the ball." Pulisic is a talent that "makes you wonder if his future even has any limits." While Pulisic is not yet on the level of Lionel Messi or Michael Jordan, he has become "appointment viewing, and not just for U.S. soccer fans but for general American sports fans as well" (SI.com, 6/9).
THE FUTURE IS BRIGHT: In Denver, John Meyer notes Thursday night's match had "more than a thousand temporary seats added" to Dick's Sporting Goods Park, and the crowd of 19,188 "saw a game they won’t soon forget because of the excitement Pulisic has created with stellar play over the past year" (DENVER POST, 6/9). FS1's Alexi Lalas said USMNT coach Bruce Arena "has handed the keys to kingdom" to Pulisic, and "rightfully so." Lalas: "The hype is justified, it's okay to be excited about Christian Pulisic -- everybody is -- and he continues to live up to expectations" ("The Road to Russia," FS1, 6/8). In DC, Steven Goff writes it is not Pulisic's team yet, but with G Tim Howard and F Clint Dempsey well into their 30s and MF Michael Bradley nearing the crossroads, "that time is near" (WASHINGTONPOST.com, 6/9). ESPN FC's Jason Davis wrote Pulisic "reinforced the consensus that he isn't just the team's future but its present" (ESPNFC.us, 6/8). CNN's Grez & Snell write Pulisic "stirs excitement in his homeland like never before" (CNN.com, 6/9).