The United States men’s national team is around three weeks from returning to World Cup qualification. With that in mind, we thought it’d be interesting to evaluate how some of the team’s top players are doing this season. While all the MLS guys are just beginning their seasons, the players playing abroad have been hard a work. In this series, we’ll be talking to writers who cover the team’s these players play for to get a good sense of where they are going into the return of the Hex.
First up, we check in on Christian Pulisic. We caught up with Brian Meyers of Fear The Wall and asked him some questions about the 18-year-old’s progress so far this season. Here’s what he had to say:
1. Give us an idea of what Christian Pulisic's current form is as of writing this
BM: Pulisic is one of the most consistent players for BVB at the moment. This season Dortmund have has been super inconsistent with players like Aubameyang and Marc Bartra going from great to bad to great again. Pulisic has been a rock, always playing near his peak level of performance. He's had some good chances for goals over the past few months and his goal against Leverkusen was a long time coming. Whether he is in the starting XI or coming of the bench you can expect that he will create his fair share of chances.
2. Compare his performance this season to his debut season. Has he improved in any particular areas?
BM: Last season, as fun as he was to watch he still made a good deal of bad passes that lost BVB the ball. This season he hasn't totally cut out these kind of mistakes but he has definitively limited them. Hopefully playing with guys like Julian Weigl, who is a passing wizard, has helped him learn how to cut down the little mistakes. Another thing he has improved is his confidence. He has been much more willing to make daring dribbles into the box and take his shot, something he practically never did last season. While his place in the team is still the guy that feeds Auba/Schurrle he has shown that he can do much more.
3. What does he need to do to gain more playing time? Is it just a matter of waiting at this point?
BM: It probably is still just a matter of waiting. Pulisic is good but he is still below the depth chart to guys like Reus, Schurrle and Dembele. With Reus being hurt he is going to get more playing time in the next month or so, especially because BVB are struggling in the league and the UCL. Before the season started most people(including myself) put Emre Mor over Pulisic in the depth chart but that is clearly not the case at the moment. Pulisic seems content with staying at BVB and earning his place and as guys leave BVB as they always do, he will become more and more a mainstay in the starting XI.
4. Okay, pretend you're Professor Dortmund and give us a grade for Christian so far this season.
BM: Pulisic hasn't played enough to be top of the class but his dependability and chance creation for a kid his age are very impressive — B+