LONDON — Christian Pulisic’s mood sums up the current situation around the U.S. men’s national team right now.
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Pulisic, 20, missed an early chance to give the USMNT a 1-0 lead but in truth they were always second best as they lost 3-0 at Wembley in Wayne Rooney’s farewell game. Pulisic, who was playing in just his second game for the U.S. in the past 13 months and his first since May, seemed to be a little off the pace throughout the match but he was the USMNT’s most dangerous attacking player.
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Speaking to reporters after the game, Pulisic was disappointed with the overall team display and he was asked directly if he felt he could have tracked back further to help out defensively on England’s first goal from Jesse Lingard.
“You think that?” Pulisic answered, as he had a face like thunder. He then added “I don’t know” when asked again, and moved on quickly.
His disappointment and anger was clear and in recent days he has seemed fed up with the way the USMNT are drifting along without a head coach (now 13 months and counting) amid a severe lack of direction.
Interim head coach Dave Sarachan and his staff have done the best they can with this extremely young side but they were clearly second best against a reserve England team, which underlines just how far the U.S. have to go to become competitive among the top 20 in the world again.
“You are never happy to lose 3-0. It is a tough result. We need to get a lot better as a team,” Pulisic said. “We can talk about continuing to gain experience. That is not why we are here. We want to win now. We need to win these games. I’m a competitive guy and I know everyone else is in the locker room. It wasn’t good enough today… I had a really good chance in the first half that I need to score and that could change the game, after that they scored two quick ones and that’s soccer. It can change real quick and there just wasn’t time for us to recover.”
Moving ahead, the USA’s final game of 2018 is against Italy in Genk, Belgium next Tuesday.
Do Pulisic and his teammates feel under pressure to deliver something special in what is likely Sarachan’s final game before a new manager comes in?
“There is no pressure. I don’t feel any added pressure because it is our last game of the year or whatever,” Pulisic said. “Whoever we are playing we want to go out and prove to ourselves and our country we can take down a good team. We want to go out there and we want to win.”