It’s a sad day in the United States of America today. Hype trains are running at half speed (just for today) as Christian Pulisic and Borussia Dortmund have been knocked out of the UEFA Champions League in the quarterfinals by AS Monaco. The French phenom striker Kylian Mbappé was too much for the Dortmund defense to handle as they won 6-3 on aggregate over the two legs.
While the news today is that Pulisic is out of the most prestigious and competitive club competition in the world, the bigger news will be focused on the events of last week. Dortmund weren’t pleased that UEFA made them play a day after their team bus was attacked by terrorists heading to the first leg, leaving defender Marc Barta injured.
Christian Pulisic’s father Mark spoke with Sports Illustrated about the incident and finding out about his son’s safety just 20 minutes after the attack.
“It was a tough couple of hours there with my wife. It’s something you never expect to happen. Tragedies happen, but you never know it could happen to you. I just saw today if they had detonated one second earlier there would have been casualties. Soccer isn’t on the forefront of my mind now anymore. I just want Christian to get through the season, be happy and get a break.” — Mark Pulisic; Source: Sports Illustrated
On the field, Pulisic had a big impact in the first leg, coming on at halftime with Dortmund down 2-0 and quickly helping change the momentum. However, he wasn’t given much of a chance to affect the second leg as he only received 18 minutes and came on with his side down two goals on aggregate.
It’s an unfortunate end to a great run for Pulisic and Dortmund. Passage to next year’s tournament looks good as they currently hold a 10 point cushion above fifth place in the Bundesliga and are just one point away from third spot, which would grant them entry straight to the group stage. Assuming he stays for another season, Pulisic should get more Champions League chances in 2017-18.