Wonderkid Christian Pulisic brings USA to within one game of World Cup qualification

Borussia Dortmund star Pulisic scored and assisted as the United States defeated Panama 4-0 in Orlando.

Christian Pulisic 19-year-old Christian Pulisic celebrates giving his side the lead. Source: Mark Thorstenson

A STUNNING PERFORMANCE and a goal of equal measure from Christian Pulisic saw the United States deliver a resounding 4-0 win on Friday in their must-win World Cup qualifier against Panama.

The win means the USA head into their final qualification game in Trinidad on Tuesday knowing a win will guarantee their place at next summer’s World Cup in Russia following a campaign of highs and lows.

Pulisic has been hailed as the next leading figure for the country’s national team, despite being just 19-years-old. However it was he who gave Bruce Arena’s side the lead after just eight minutes.

The Borussia Dortmund playmaker danced through a host of challenges following a through ball from Jozy Altidore before rounding goalkeeper Jaime Penedo and slotting the ball into the net.

His side went from strength to strength thereafter, with Pulisic paying back Toronto and former Sunderland striker Altidore with an assist to double their side’s lead.

Altidore added a third — his second of the night — before the break, with Hamburg forward Bobby Wood adding a fourth in the second half to ease fears the nation might miss out on a first World Cup since 1986.

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“It was a good win for our team,” manager Arena said afterwards. “We have had a great year despite what people think. We have come a long way.”

His side head into Tuesday’s showdown with bottom-paced Trinidad and Tobago now knowing that a point should be enough if they are to qualify for an eighth consecutive World Cup, but also aware that a win will make sure of it.

“The game in Trinidad won’t be easy but we are in a good position now,” said Arena.

“It won’t be easy, it will be challenging. We faced challenging conditions in Honduras and Panama so we will be ready. Trinidad are out but will be a handful.”

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