Christian Pulisic Cleared to Play for USMNT vs. Netherlands After Injury Recovery

Mike Chiari@@mikechiariFeatured Columnist IVDecember 2, 2022

DOHA, QATAR - NOVEMBER 29: Christian Pulisic of USA in action  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 Stuart Franklin/Getty Images)
Stuart Franklin/Getty Images

United States men's national soccer team star Christian Pulisic has been cleared to play in Saturday's round-of-16 match against the Netherlands at the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar.

Pulisic scored in the 38th minute of USMNT's 1-0 win over Iran on Tuesday, which clinched the squad's spot in the knockout stage. He slid into the goalkeeper on the goal and suffered a pelvic contusion.

While he finished the first half, he was substituted at the start of the second half and spent some time in the hospital before meeting up with his teammates at the team hotel to celebrate the win.

Pulisic is pushing to play against the Netherlands, saying Thursday he would do "everything in my power" to be in the starting lineup.

However, when speaking to ESPN's Sam Borden, he suggested he may not be healthy enough to go a full 90 minutes, saying he was working with the medical team to be able to go at "110 percent" for "however long I can be out on that field."

The 24-year-old is unquestionably the United States' top offensive player with 22 goals in 55 career appearances for the senior national team. The next closest on the team is Weston McKennie with nine goals.

Pulisic's goal against Iran was the biggest of his career and among the most important in the history of American men's soccer.

The United States missed out on qualifying for the World Cup four years ago, but it has advanced past the group stage in each of the past three World Cups they have qualified for and four of the past five.

Getting any further has been a challenge, though, as the Americans fell in the round of 16 in both 2010 and 2014.

The U.S. will truly have to earn a quarterfinals berth for the first time since 2002. The Dutch have never missed the knockout stage at a World Cup they qualified for, and they were the runners-up in 2010 and finished third in 2014.

They had two wins and a draw in the group stage, led by forward Cody Gakpo, who scored once in each of the group-stage matches.

Pulisic and the United States will look to upset the Netherlands when they clash at 10 a.m. ET on Saturday.