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The frustration of getting yanked in the second half of the U.S. national team’s historic loss to Canada didn’t last long for Christian Pulisic.
Four days after the Americans’ debacle in Toronto, Pulisic came off the bench for Chelsea 64 minutes into Saturday’s scoreless match against Newcastle and helped set up Marcos Alonso’s game-winner in the 1-0 victory.
Pulisic started the play that led to the decisive goal. The 21-year-old attacker picked up the ball and slalomed into the Magpies’ box before picking out an unmarked Callum Hudson-Odoi on the weak side. Hudson-Odoi spun and found Alonso, and the defender’s first-time shot beat a sliding DeAndre Yedlin — Pulisic’s U.S. teammate went 90 minutes for Newcastle — and goalkeeper Martin Dubravka to put the Blues ahead for good:
It was the second time in as many games that Pulisic made an impact as a substitute. Two weeks ago, before the international break, the Pennsylvania native set up Tammy Abraham with a slick assist in a 4-1 victory over Southampton.
It’s a good trend for Pulisic, who so far has had an up-and-down season, his first season in London following a $73 million transfer from German side Borussia Dortmund. Pulisic started three of Chelsea’s first four Premier League games, then went the entire month of September without seeing the field in the Prem at all.
But while first-year Chelsea manager Frank Lampard noted that Pulisic faces serious competition for playing time on the wings in the form of Hudson-Odoi, Mason Mount, Pedro and Willian, he’s also preached patience with the American. Pulisic’s performances in his last two outings have rewarded Lampard’s faith in him.
It might not be enough for the manager to hand Pulisic his first start since a League Cup win over Grimsby Town nearly a month ago when the Blues travel to Amsterdam to take on Dutch titan Ajax (and USMNT recruit Sergino Dest) Wednesday in the UEFA Champions League. After all, Pulisic didn’t dress for Chelsea’s Oct. 2 triumph at France’s Lille.
But it certainly can’t hurt.
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