-Ed. Note: Eric Quintana is a staff writer for Dirty South Soccer and is on-location in Columbus.
The difference between this year's US men's national team heading into the Hexagonal and the team presented four years ago is no secret. Pulisic and the young, new faces on this squad not only face Mexico on Friday, but must overcome the nerves, excitement and the drama surrounding the match. After all, "Dos a Cero" tradition is on the line. Former USMNT notables wanted to make sure the newer faces knew what was at stake.
"We've had a few different meetings. I think one of the best little meetings we had was, we had Greg Berhalter and Josh Wolff and Frankie Hejduk come and speak to the group about different experience they've had about these Columbus games," Sacha Kljestan said before training on Thursday. "Frankie gave a good speech. He was obviously very positive and gave a good history lesson to guys who haven't been here before."
"He even did a cartwheel after he got done talking, so I don't know how many espresso shots he had...," Alejandro Bedoya added about Hejduk's speech.
For most of the younger and newer USMNT players, Friday's match will be the most important game they've played in a US jersey. Many expect Pulisic to at least play, and hope he's given the nod to start. Being mentored by the more experienced players could prove invaluable when both teams step on the pitch.
"I think (the meetings) really resonated with the young players, especially the guys who haven't been a part of this yet," Bedoya added. "There are going to be nerves and everything, but at the end of the day, express yourself on the field and hopefully with the 'W."
Here's to hoping Pulisic and the rest of the USMNT are doing at least two cartwheels tomorrow night.