Fresh of his triumph in the UEFA Champions League with club side Chelsea, United States men’s national team attacker Christian Pulisic said it’s a case of getting “right back to work” in the CONCACAF Nations League.
It was on Saturday that the Blues overcame Manchester City to claim their second UCL triumph. Pulisic came on for the last 34 minutes, and nearly scored.
After the final whistle blew, he donned a U.S. national team hoodie at his father’s suggestion and basked in the moment.
But for Pulisic, it is now time to try and win the inaugural National League starting with Thursday’s semifinal against Honduras at Empower Field at Mile High in Denver. The winner of that game will go against the victors of the other semifinal between Mexico and Costa Rica.
Pulisic and Zack Steffen — who was on the losing end of the Champions League final as City’s backup goalkeeper — arrived in time for Tuesday’s training session outside of Denver.
“It’s been an incredible couple of days, definitely,” Pulisic said on a Zoom call with reporters. “Obviously, getting to celebrate and having some family and friends there and be with my teammates, was an incredible achievement, so we’re really proud. And, yeah, now it’s right back to work. But I’m happy, I’m excited to have a chance to go after this trophy with the national team, and yeah I’m ready to go.”
Pulisic was asked how difficult it is to flip the switch between club and national team duties, but he says the transition is something with which he’s familiar.
“Going from one competition to the next is what I’ve been doing all season,” he said. “So it’s constantly having to refocus, and get ready for the next game and quick turnarounds and it’s something that I’m used to. This is a big one, but there’s not really a switch I need to flip. I was playing at the highest level, and I’m feeling ready and excited for these games coming up as well.”
Herculez Gomez says he can’t imagine Christian Pulisic finding a better situation at a big club if he leaves Chelsea.
In other U.S. team news, manager Gregg Berhalter said that midfielder Tyler Adams, who has been dealing with a back injury, trained with the team yesterday and would do the same on Wednesday. Adams remains on the team’s roster, but it’s unclear if he will see the field on Thursday.
“Tyler is working his way back,” said Berhalter. “He was able to do team training yesterday, and in terms of his availability for tomorrow we’re still working through training today. But signs are looking good that he’s making progress.”
Pulisic has faced Honduras in the past during World Cup qualifying, and said the USMNT expects a difficult match on Thursday.
“It’s never an easy opponent,” he said about Los Catrachos. “They’re going to fight. We’re playing for this for this Nations League title.”