Christian Pulisic can’t save the USA in their World Cup draw with Wales

The enduring image of the national team’s failure to qualify for the last World Cup was that of Christian Pulisic, his uniform stained with grass and dirt, sitting in the center of the field with his head in his hand in frustration. As a result, the arrival of the United States in Qatar this fall may have meant more to Pulisic than to any other player.

“He’s one of the people who got sad again in 2017,” said goalkeeper Matt Turner.

In Monday’s World Cup debut four years late, Pulisic produced a heroic effort but was again frustrated when a late penalty allowed Wales to steal two points to level at 1-1.

“I was a bit disappointed with the way the game went,” said defender Walker Zimmermann, whose mistake in the penalty area led to Gareth Bale’s goal in the 82nd minute. “Being in a position with only 15 minutes to go three points away, it feels like we deserved a little more than that.”

And no one deserved a better score than Pulisic, whose perfectly weighted pass freed Tim Weah to score the only goal for the United States in the 36th minute.

Playing against a Welsh team that was more physical than finesse, Pulisic was beaten, punished and beaten. But he will not be subdued.

He was bumped, bruised and beaten. But he won’t hit.

Bound, yes, but not hit. This still left the USA in great control of their own destiny as the group matches against England and Iran progressed.

American striker Tim Weah scored a first-half goal against Wales on Monday.

(Darko Voinovich/The Associated Press)

“I don’t know. I don’t know. I don’t know. Why did he keep lifting himself off the well-manicured turf of the Ahmed Bin Ali Stadium, only to be defeated again,” Pulisic said when asked. “I’m very competitive. I love this team so much, it’s an honor to play in the World Cup for my country.

“So the least I can do is give her my all.”

Pulisic was perhaps the only constant for the United States in what proved to be a game of two halves.

The Americans came out strong, rushing the ball in the first half, during which they held the ball for 30 of the 45 minutes, outscored Wells nearly two to one, and hit the only shot on goal, which Weah put in the back of the goal. Clear. It was Pulisic who set up the goal, taking a chest-volley from a pass from Josh Sargent near midfield and making a long break before pushing a pass forward for Weah, who split two defenders at the top of the box and then fired home. The ball slipped through Wales goalkeeper Wayne Hennessy.

Gareth Bale celebrates after scoring the penalty equalizer against the United States

Gareth Bale celebrates after scoring the penalty equalizer against the United States

(Ashley Landis/The Associated Press)

Wales star Gareth Bale celebrated after scoring past American goalkeeper Matt Turner from an 82nd-minute penalty.

Wales star Gareth Bale celebrated after scoring past American goalkeeper Matt Turner from an 82nd-minute penalty.

(Darko Voinovich/The Associated Press)

“It’s amazing to play with Christian,” Weah said. “Over the years, we’ve gained a connection. Once he gets the ball, I just have to run it behind them.

“He’s fighting for the team. You can’t ask for anything.” [more]. Definitely a leader.”

The result gave Weah one more World Cup goal than his father George, who before becoming president of Liberia was a three-time African Footballer of the Year and former FIFA World Player of the Year. However, despite his achievements, he never participated in a World Cup.

The United States could not get more, despite its early dominance. Some tension and fatigue on opening night among the young Americans as well as some first half adjustments by Wales allowed Wales to dominate the second half. Bell eventually pulled his team up when his left foot of the kick fell to Turner, who guessed correctly by diving to his right, but couldn’t get enough of his gloved hands on the shot to stop it.

USA goalkeeper Matt Turner made a great save during the second half against Wales.

USA goalkeeper Matt Turner made a great save during the second half against Wales.

(Francisco Seco/The Associated Press)

Bell was almost burned by Turner again in injury time. After the keeper raced well off his line to break a counter-attack, Bell ran towards the loose ball inside the US half and began to slot the ball into the far but open net before LAFC teammate Clean Acosta grabbed him around the shoulders to block the shot.

“A professional foul,” Zimmerman said of Acosta’s quick thinking, which earned him a yellow card.

“We talked about it before the game — every game counts,” said US coach Greg Berhalter, the only American to have played and managed the US at the World Cup. “Every game can have an outcome in the match.”

What matters now is how the United States responds to a tie that looked like a loss.

“It’s definitely disappointing after such a good start,” said Pulisic. “A point in the first game, it’s better than nothing. We have to move on and learn from this. It’s our first World Cup game. Now it’s time to focus on the next stage.”

Turner added of the upcoming challenge: “If it were easy, everybody would do it. For us, it’s focusing on the fact that it was a good start. You take a point and keep moving forward.”

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: