It's something USMNT supporters have been dying to see. Christian Pulisic starting a match. So far we've yet to see the talented 17-year-old in any capacity other than the super-sub role. And that's perfectly fine. No matter how talented he is, he's still very young and needs to be handled carefully.
Something interesting emerged from the U.S. national team's pre-match practice today, though. Reports from training say that Pulisic was playing alongside what appeared to be a first-choice starting lineup.
#USMNT practiced with: Guzan, Yedlin, Cameron, Brooks, Johnson; Zusi, Beckerman, Bradley; Pulisic, Dempsey, Zardes— Juan G. Arango (@JuanG_Arango) June 21, 2016
With Bobby Wood out with a suspension, if the U.S. are to stick with the 4-3-3 formation, they'll need a logical left wing replacement. The only current one on the roster that makes sense is the one that has experience playing that position for Borussia Dortmund. Pulisic played the majority of his minutes in the Bundesliga last season on the wing. He scored his first career goal from cutting inside on the left wing. It certainly makes sense from a tactical standpoint for him to replace Wood.
But what about a philosophical standpoint? Does it make sense to throw a 17-year-old into the fire? His first ever USMNT start could come in the semifinal of a major international tournament against the No. 1 team in the world. Is that really how Klinsmann is going to give the kid his full debut? It would be one helluva story if it is. The anxiety will be bubbling over in the build up to the lineup announcement on Tuesday.