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Christian Pulisic, Copa America, and Expectations

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Welcome to Pulisic and Stripes FC. Your dedicated Christian Pulisic blog that occasionally covers the U.S. men's and women's national teams.

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Fresh off his debut season in the Bundesliga for Borussia Dortmund, the emerging Christian Pulisic is generating headlines.

Could the 17-year old midfielder be a starter in the Copa America Centenario? According to this vague quote from United States men's national team Jurgen Klinsmann, possibly:

"Everybody's in contention," Klinsmann said when asked if the Pennsylvania native could play a bigger role during the high-profile tournament. "It's nice to see a youngster like Christian having no fear, having confidence.

"It's also a confidence given by his teammates. He can make mistakes but he also has that change of pace. He has the technique. He's not overthinking the situation."

Everybody's in contention. You, me, Pulisic, the guy at the bagel shop who messed up my order this morning. Everybody.

But mostly Pulisic.

Pulisic appeared as a sub during the U.S.' 1-0 friendly win over Ecuador in Dallas. He played 27 minutes, and provided the same energy and technical ability he's displayed in the Bundesliga.

Baby Nats Abroad posted an "every touch" video, so feel free to watch and re-live the magic:

And if you haven't gotten enough Pulisic today, Jonathan Harding profiled him for FourFourTwo:

"I see all the things that people write and they put a lot of expectation on me," he says. "I just try to put it aside, not read into it and become the best player I can be. I’m very thankful for the chance to put the U.S. crest on and just to play. It’s amazing."

...

"I don’t want to be just some 17-year-old kid who is only known for being some prodigy at soccer. It’s too much. I’m just like anyone else. I want to live a normal life. I want to be respected as a nice kid who people know and not just because of soccer. I’m doing the best I can and I’m working towards my dream, but people just have to be patient."

Read the whole piece. It's an engaging look into the life of a young professional soccer player.

American fans tend to be very cautious about over-hyping young prospect, despite the popular narrative claiming the reverse. These days there are more advanced warnings against "too much too soon" than cases of premature anointing.

Although most of us would like to see a player as talented as Pulisic slowly integrated into the national team lineup, it's quite possible that he's forcing Klinsmann's hand. For now, I see him as a change up off the bench, someone who can come in around the 65th minute and annoy tired back lines with boundless energy, tricky dribbling, and defensive pressure. Klinsmann tends to rely on his veteran mainstays, and most likely will continue to do so against the powerful Colombia national team.

But if there's a need for a change of pace or a tactical wrinkle befitting Pulisic's skills against Costa Rica and Paraguay, then he certainly could earn his first national team start at the Copa America.

For now, Klinsmann isn't tipping his hand.

Will Pulisic start against Colombia? Will he start at the Copa America? Should the guy who made me a ham, egg, and cheese breakfast sandwich (instead of the bacon, egg, and cheese that I ordered) be fired and/or arrested? Let us know in the comment section.