Late in the first half of Tuesday’ do-or-die match against Iran, Christian Pulisic came through for the United States, scoring one of the the most important goals in USMNT history as he put a pass from Sergiño Dest past Iranian keeper Alireza Beiranvand to give the United States a 1-0 lead.
But instead of wheeling away in celebration, Pulisic remained down on the turf, having crashed into Beiranvand in the effort. Pulisic was eventually helped off by trainers, and did return to the match, but was subbed off before the second half began.
The United States survived a frenzied second half, and over nine minutes of stoppage time, preserving the one-goal victory to put them through to the knockout stage of the World Cup. Their reward for the effort? A date with the Netherlands on Saturday.
When the starting lineup was announced Saturday morning, there was Pulisic:
On Friday, it was revealed that Pulisic will at least be available.
UPDATE: Christian Pulisic has been cleared to play in tomorrow’s match versus Netherlands. pic.twitter.com/ANg2baaJez— U.S. Men's National Soccer Team (@USMNT) December 2, 2022
Pulisic spoke with the media on Thursday, providing an update of his own. The star forward stated that he was “feeling better,” but will go along with the “day-to-day” designation provided by the USMNT.
Pulisic also had this to say about his availability on Saturday: “I will do everything in my power to work with this medical team and make sure I can play.”
He also addressed one of the biggest questions surrounding his injury, with a definitive statement:
Christian Pulisic says that no, he did not get "hit in the balls"— Henry Bushnell (@HenryBushnell) December 1, 2022
The USMNT released a quick update on Pulisic on Tuesday evening, indicating that he was “day-to-day” with a pelvic contusion:
A USMNT spokesperson did clarify that Pulisic was already back at the team hotel following a visit to the hospital. On Tuesday night USMNT social media team posted a video of players returning to the team hotel, and receiving a warm welcome for supporters, and Pulisic himself:
the hotel was ROWDY when we got back pic.twitter.com/xa5lBnDWO2— U.S. Men's National Soccer Team (@USMNT) November 30, 2022
The match against Iran and the injury
Here is another look at Pulisic’s effort, as he put his body on the line for the go-ahead goal:
This series of images puts into context just what Pulisic did to see the United States through to the round of 16:
Christian Pulisic laying it all on the line for his country pic.twitter.com/hOnYptRKz4— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) November 29, 2022
It was Pulisic’s first World Cup goal, and one that will live on in USMNT lore. But it might have come at a steep price, as Pulisic needed to be removed from the match before the second half, after making a short attempt at returning to the pitch:
His injury was termed an “abdominal injury” by the USMNT at the time of the substitution:
Halftime Change:— U.S. Men's National Soccer Team (@USMNT) November 29, 2022
Aaronson replaces Pulisic (abdominal injury) at the break. pic.twitter.com/StFaBxD1ol
According to Kevin Baxter, who covers soccer for the Los Angeles Times, the USMNT star was taken to a nearby hospital for evaluation of his abdominal injury:
According to Jenny Taft, who is covering the World Cup for Fox Sports, Pulisic FaceTimed the team from the hospital:
The United States squares off with the Netherlands at 10:00 a.m. ET on Saturday.
This story will be updated as updates to Pulisic’s condition become available.