Pulisic scores, leaves with leg injury as US ties Chile 1-1
HOUSTON (AP) — Shortly after becoming the youngest American with 10 international goals, Christian Pulisic limped off with another leg injury.
Pulisic scored in the fourth minute of the United States’ 1-1 exhibition tie against South American champion Chile on Tuesday night, a result that denied Gregg Berhalter’s bid to become the first American coach to win his first four games.
Pulisic has been limited to 15 league matches and 25 overall this season for Borussia Dortmund. He tore a calf muscle last October and a thigh muscle in February, and lost playing time because of the emergence of 19-year-old English winger Jadon Sancho.
“I think you look into the why, and you do an inquiry as to why it’s happening and you make adjustments,” Berhalter said.
Chelsea agreed in January to buy Pulisic from Dortmund for 64 million euros (then $73 million) and loaned him back to the German club for the rest of the season.
“I think he’s at a top club and going to a top club,” Berhalter said. “We have very high-level medical personnel on our side, and we’ll get it right.”
Pulisic scored in the fourth minute, bursting toward goal, running onto a one-touch pass from Gyasi Zardes and beating goalkeeper Gabriel Arias from just inside the penalty area. At 20 years, 189 days, Pulisic broke the American mark for youngest to double-digit goals, set in October 2010 by Jozy Altidore at 20 years, 337 days. Goalkeeper Ethan Horvath had cleared the ball to Zardes at midfield.
Pulisic had not scored since the October 2017 loss at Trinidad and Tobago that cost the U.S. a World Cup berth. Defender Omar Gonzalez made his first appearance since that night in Couva, when his first half own goal on a failed clearance started the Americans’ downfall.
Chile, ranked 13th in the world, tied the score in the ninth minute when 28-year-old defender Oscar Opazo scored his first international goal. The Americans failed to clear the ball as it bounced around the penalty area, and Opazo one-timed the ball past Horvath, with the ball taking a slight deflection off a defender.
Right back DeAndre Yedlin, who captained the U.S. for the first time, credited Berhalter for an aggressive style of play.
“There’s going to be a lot of media that are going to say, ‘They are stubborn and stupid for trying to play while they are pressing,’ but the point of the fact is that we are playing a friendly for a reason, and that is to work on the things you work on in training.”
The U.S. had not previously allowed a goal under Berhalter, who opened with three wins to match the U.S. record set by Bob Bradley in 2007.
Berhalter changed seven starters from Friday’s 1-0 win over Ecuador, and Chile dominated possession. Yedlin started at right back in place of Tyler Adams, who returned to RB Leipzig in Germany, and Tim Ream remained at left back. Gonzalez and Matt Miaza took over from John Brooks and Aaron Long in central defense, Michael Bradley replaced Wil Trapp in defensive midfield.
Left back Daniel Lovitz entered in the 56th minute for winger Corey Baird, and the formation shifted to five defenders, with Ream moving to the middle.
“The five-back formation wasn’t a formation we had worked on in training, so it was something we had to kind of adjust to in the game,” Yedlin said. “I thought the team did pretty well with it. There were some times where we are a little hesitant to do some things, but I think for the most part, we kept pretty good possession of the ball and defended well when we needed to defend.”