Christian Pulisic Told USMNT He'll Return from Injury vs. Netherlands at World Cup

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured Columnist IVNovember 29, 2022

DOHA, QATAR - NOVEMBER 29: Christian Pulisic of USA is injured during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Group B match between IR Iran and USA at Al Thumama Stadium on November 29, 2022 in Doha, Qatar. (Photo by Amin Mohammad Jamali/Getty Images)
Amin Mohammad Jamali/Getty Images

Christian Pulisic expects to be available for the knockout phase.

The USMNT winger, who scored the decisive goal in his country's 1-0 win over Iran but was injured on that same play and left the game at halftime, told his teammates that he plans to be on the pitch for Saturday's Round of 16 showdown with the Netherlands.

Doug McIntyre @ByDougMcIntyre

Weston McKennie tells reporters that Christian Pulisic told his team on FaceTime that “you best believe” he’ll be ready to play against the Netherlands on Saturday. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/USMNT?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#USMNT</a>

Pulisic scored in the 38th minute, crashing the net after Sergiño Dest played a header across the face of the goal. A sprawling Pulisic got his boot on the ball and directed it into the net as he collided with Iranian goalkeeper Alireza Beiranvand.

The Chelsea forward and United States talisman immediately crumpled to the pitch in pain and needed the assistance of trainers to walk off the field. He did briefly return for the rest of the first half but was subbed off at halftime for Brenden Aaronson.

"Obviously, we're very thankful that he threw his body there," Weston McKennie told reporters after the match. "At the end, it was a heart-drop sinking moment, but we got it done, and we're excited to still be here."

After the game Pulisic was taken to the hospital with an abdominal injury, with manager Gregg Berhalter calling that visit precautionary in nature.

Meg Swanick @Meg_Swanick

Pulisic has been taken to the hospital for “scans”, per US Soccer

Meg Swanick @Meg_Swanick

Berhalter confirms Pulisic was taken to the hospital, saying it was “precaution”. Berhalter continues that he was experiencing some dizziness

"It's a wonderful thing when one of your best players is also one of the most hard working," Berhalter added of Pulisic's goal. "He's certainly that. I can't say enough positive things about Christian."

Pulisic, from his hospital room, was one of a number of United States players to express their excitement at advancing to the knockout phase after a hard-fought win over Iran.

FOX Soccer @FOXSoccer

Christian Pulisic sends a message of support to his USMNT teammates ❤️🇺🇸<br><br>(via <a href="https://twitter.com/AreaSportsNet?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@AreaSportsNet</a>, <a href="https://twitter.com/Adimitri24?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@Adimitri24</a>) <a href="https://t.co/Vk0yculZfA">pic.twitter.com/Vk0yculZfA</a>

Tyler Adams @tyler_adams14

Next. Round!!!!! 🇺🇸 <a href="https://t.co/jyi4NkH0rA">pic.twitter.com/jyi4NkH0rA</a>

Sergiño Dest @sergino_dest

So proud of this team! <br>On to the next round! 🔥🔥<a href="https://twitter.com/USMNT?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@USMNT</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/FIFAWorldCup?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#FIFAWorldCup</a> 🇺🇸 <a href="https://t.co/0ctkjmUkds">pic.twitter.com/0ctkjmUkds</a>

Having a full-strength side against Group A winners Netherlands will be key for the USMNT. Most of the United States' threat in the group stage came from the play of wingers Pulisic and Timothy Weah, as the United States continually attacked down the flanks and looked to swing crosses into the box.

While the effectiveness of that strategy was at times questionable—the USMNT only scored two goals in the group stage en route to a pair of draws and Tuesday's win—the midfield trio of McKennie, Adams and Yunus Musah completely controlled the scoreless draw against favored England, while the defense now has two clean sheets to its name.

Against a Dutch side that will be the heavy favorites, counter-attacking opportunities should be plentiful, which should play into the strengths of Pulisic and Weah. That makes having the Chelsea man healthy for Saturday morning's match all the more vital.

"Huge player for us, obviously," Tyler Adams told reporters. "Praying for him, hoping everything is OK. He'll hang in there. I know he'll do anything to play in the next game."