When the United States took the field against Bolivia on May 28, 2016, they were set to warm up against a CONMEBOL opponent to prepare for the Copa America Centenario that the nation was hosting, combining the best CONCACAF teams with each of the CONMEBOL teams to celebrate the 100th anniversary of South America’s regional tournament. What fans at Children’s Mercy Park in Kansas City wanted was to see a USMNT click on all cylinders as they entered this prestigious tournament. What they didn’t expect was to witness history.
When Christian Pulisic entered the game, replacing Gyasi Zardes, in the 63rd minute, the lead was already 3-0 USA, courtesy of a brace by Zardes sandwiching a 37th minute John Brooks goal. One of the youngest players to ever debut for the national team at the time, Pulisic was a highly touted teenager who started playing for Borussia Dortmund at age 16, and fans were excited to see what the kid could do. He had become the youngest American male to appear in a World Cup qualifier back in March 2016 when he appeared for the USMNT against Guatemala, but he was looking to make some more history for the fans in Kansas City.
In the 69th minute, Darlington Nagbe found a loose ball on the left side of the field and, with a 1-2 combo with Jermaine Jones, sliced through the defense. Pulisic was on Nagbe’s right and started a run wide at the top of the 18-yard box. Nagbe slid him the ball, and Pulisic took care of the rest. He smashed the ball past Bolivian goalkeeper Guillermo Viscarra and into the lower right corner for the USMNT’s 4th goal.
With that goal, Christian Pulisic ran to the right side of the field to celebrate, and the history had been achieved. At 17 years, 253 days old, Christian Pulisic became the youngest goalscorer in the USMNT’s modern era (since 1990). It sent the crowd of 8,894 into celebration with the loudest roar of the game.
Christian Pulisic could very well go down as the greatest player in USMNT history if his career continues at the meteoric trajectory it has done so far. Of course, a lot will need to be accomplished between now and the end of his career, but he is well on his way. When fans look back at his career, they’ll look back at May 28, 2016 as the date that he showed that he’s here to stay.