Tuesday, June 18, 2024
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Why Christian Pulisic made the Golazo 100 countdown, and what his presence says about USMNT’s talent pool

As the Golazo 100 gets rolling, the first group of players revealed includes Christian Pulisic who came in at 81 after a group vote among the staff. The only American player to make the list, Pulisic is coming off of an impressive debut season with Milan along with his fellow national teammate Yunus Musah that saw him register 15 goals and 11 assists across all competitions which is yet another strong European season for the American.

This year marked a year of career firsts for Pulisic. His 12 league goals are the first time he’s broken double digits in league play over the course of his career. His eight league assists are also a career high. But just as importantly as those stats, for the first time in his career, Pulisic showed an ability to regularly get on the pitch, and stay there. He played 36 out of 38 league games for Milan, a career best, and only the second time he’s ever cracked the 30 game barrier, with the first coming way back in the 2017-18 season with Borussia Dortmund. Similarly his 2600 league minutes played is a high-water mark, topping his 2300 minutes from that same Dortmund season. Pulisic played more this season for Milan than he did in his last two years combined with Chelsea. 

Pulisic’s ability to deliver when he’s on the field has neve been in doubt. He’s able to play anywhere across the attack, and his versatility has been an important factor in fitting in at clubs. Pulisic won a Champions League title with Chelsea as a utility attacker fitting in anywhere he was needed along the front line. 

Still, his ranking still shows how far Americans have to go. Ahead of Copa America and the World Cup being in the United States in 2026, the only other Americans who received any votes at all by the ranking panel were Weston McKennie and Antonee Robinson.

Some names like Gio Reyna and Tim Weah missing makes sense due to them struggling for playing time at their clubs but when other nations that the USMNT will face have multiple top 100 players, it shows that despite America rising up the FIFA rankings, America is still playing catch-up when it comes to their talent level. Other players will get there as this is a young team but one thing that does help is that they have a reliable leader in Pulisic.

Now, having shown that he can perform in England, Germany, and Italy, Pulisic is becoming a role model for both current and future members of the national team, which will only help with unearthing the next Pulisic. It will be a busy summer when the expectations for the team and their captain are high as they need to at least get out of their group and be competitive in a knockout stage match.

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When that match will likely be against Brazil or Colombia, it’s a time that will show the limits of what Pulisic and the team can do. Winning even a knockout stage match is something that will go a long way to ensuring that the next version of a list like this will included more Americans than this version did. 

Growth is needed to reach the highs where the USMNT needs to go but in following Pulisic the path is clear on how to get to where they want to be. As for Pulisic himself, if he manages to stay healthy and on the field and keep putting up seasons like this, well, his stock on this list can’t help but increase. And that journey is set to be documented on Paramount+ where the docuseries “Pulisic” will debut next season, chronicling the Americans journey across European soccer. Whatever is next for the USMNT star, it will all be caught on camera. 

Christian Pulisic career statistics

Season Team Games Minutes Goals Assists
2015-2016 Dortmund 9 389 2 0
2016-2017 Dortmund 29 1,525 3 7
2017-2018 Dortmund 32 2,302 4 5
2018-2019 Dortmund 20 932 4 4
2019-2020 Chelsea 25 1,722 9 4
2020-2021 Chelsea 27 1,738 4 2
2021-2022 Chelsea 22 1,290 6 2
2022-2023 Chelsea 24 821 1 1
2023-2024 AC Milan 36 2,602 12 8

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