The United States finds itself in a virtual must-win World Cup qualifying match against Guatemala on Tuesday. But of nearly as much interest as the result itself is the status of a 17-year-old midfielder.
Christian Pulisic's name has been well-known among hardcore USMNT fans for quite some time. The Pennsylvania native was signed by Dortmund last year and made his senior-team debut earlier this year, already appearing in six competitive games for a team that currently sits second in the Bundesliga.
Pulisic was officially added to the USMNT roster on Sunday and could make his senior-team debut on Tuesday.
How do you pronounce his name anyway?
17?!?! Shouldn't he be with the U23s?
Weirdly, he's never been part of the Olympic qualifying team and now that might never happen.
Is there any rush to play him?
Although Pulisic is born to American parents and grew up in the United States, his grandfather played for the Croatia national team. That means there's at least a chance Pulisic could switch allegiances. Getting him a senior national-team cap in a FIFA competition, though, would mean he's USA for life.
So, it's like Julian Green?
Well, sorta. Keep in mind that Green still hadn't even played in a Bundesliga match for Bayern Munich and had never played for the United States at the youth level before being a somewhat surprising addition to 2014 World Cup squad. There's not much reason to think Pulisic would actually make the switch, but it's probably better to be safe than sorry.
Can he actually help the USMNT right now?
Tough to say, but he's proven capable of at least helping one of the best clubs in Europe, having played about 150 first-team minutes in Bundesliga and Europa League action this year. His Dortmund coach has even called him an "integral part of our attack." There's nothing that screams "Jurgen needs to start him now" but he's proven himself at every spot.
What kind of player is he?
With Dortmund, he's been mostly deployed as a left-sided midfielder in their 4-2-3-1 formation. He's played in the middle for the United States at times. Either way, he's someone who's going to be more of an attacker, capable of getting off his own shot or setting up teammates.
Will he play against Guatemala?
He's been battling some sickness and a must-win World Cup qualifier might not be the best time to get him his first cap. That said, it would be kinda weird for Jurgen Klinsmann to call him in if there wasn't a real intention to play him. Don't be at all surprised to see Pulisic play, and be even less surprised if the hype train starts to get a little crazy.