Captain America 2.0
The United States soccer team didn’t have a good year in 2018. First of all, they failed to qualify for the World Cup Soccer 2022. The first time they didn’t qualify since 1990. Second of all, Clint Dempsey, who’s considered the greatest men’s American player in history, retired. Dempsey, also known as Captain America, scored 57 goals in 141 matches. Landon Donovan also scored 57 goals, but he needed 16 more games.
Anyway, the Stars and Stripes needed a new Captain America, someone who could lead them, once again, to the promised land. Luckily for them, Christian Pulisic took a step forward. The USA will return to soccer’s grandest stage in November. Pulisic isn’t among the favorites to win the Golden Boot, but his name is on the odds board so it would be best not to underestimate him.
Who’s Christian Pulisic?
Christian Pulisic, henceforth The Heir, was born two months after France won its first WC, that’s September 1998. Unlike many other American players, The Heir’s professional career didn’t start in Major League Soccer.
After playing only 15 games for Borussia Dortmund’s youth academy, Pulisic was promoted to the team in 2017, at age 17. He didn’t contribute much during his first season, but one year later, things drastically changed. He played 43 games and scored five goals, contributing a lot to winning the DFB Pokal.
The following season, he again scored five goals in 42 games. His name began to be heard throughout Europe, so much that he finished as the runner-up in the first edition of the Kopa Trophy, given to the best player under age 21. He was beaten by Kylian Mbappe.
He would play one more season with Dortmund, appearing in 30 games and scoring seven goals. After that, Chelsea, one of the English Premier League powerhouses, knocked on his door and offered him a life-changing opportunity.
He said yes, so he has been playing for the Blues since the 2019-20 season. Overall, he has played 115 games and scored 25 goals. He was crucial for Chelsea to be crowned winners of the UEFA Champions League 2020-21. He also contributed for them to win the UEFA Super Cup and the FIFA Club World Cup.
Domestically, the Blues have finished as the FA Cup runners-up three times since he joined the team. They also finished as the runners-up in the 2021-22 edition of the EFL Cup. Individually, his best season was in 2019-20 as he ended up scoring 11 goals in all competitions.
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With the Stars and Stripes
Pulisic, I’m sorry, The Heir, made his debut with the Stars and Stripes on March 29, 2016. It was against Guatemala, on the road to the 2018 WC, and the USA won 4-0. He played the last 10 minutes, becoming the youngest American to play in the WCQ.
Six months later, he became the youngest American to score in the WCQ and the youngest player to score a brace in American history. He finished the fifth round on the road to the 2018 WC as the top scorer with five goals, but that wasn’t enough for the Stars and Stripes to qualify.
On November 20, 2018, with Dempsey already retired, Pulisic officially became The Heir. He captained the team for the first time, becoming the youngest player to do so. He was only 20 years old.
In 2021, he led the team to win the CONCACAF Nations League title. They defeated Mexico 3-2 in the Grand Finale; The Heir scored the winning goal from the penalty spot.
Regarding the 2022 WCQ, the USA finished third, meaning they got the last direct ticket. Once again, Pulisic finished as the team’s top scorer with five goals.
USA in Qatar 2022
USA comes in as the betting online favorite to finish as the runners-up in Group B. The Stars and Stripes will face England, Wales, and Iran, and they’re offering a +550 price to advance in first place. England leads the World Cup odds board at -300.
Let’s not forget that the USA is one of only two CONCACAF teams to have reached the Quarterfinals at the 2022 World Cup. They did it in 2002. In other words, don’t underestimate this team. And don’t Google it, the other is Costa Rica.
Individually, The Heir is offering a +10000 in the sportsbook to win the Golden Boot. Curiously enough, he’ll face the player who’s atop the odds, Harry Kane, who’s offering a +700 price.