DOHA, Qatar — Christian Pulisic said Thursday he is “recovering well” after suffering a “pelvis contusion” in the U.S. men’s national team’s win over Iran on Tuesday, but did not commit to playing in Saturday’s elimination game against the Netherlands.
And he explains exactly what a “pelvic crush” is. After a team representative said “that’s what it sounds like,” Pulisic said: “No, it’s not.”
“It’s like I couldn’t hit the ball,” he laughed. Tim Weah and everyone else in the room laughed too.
“It hurt a lot,” Pulisic continued. “You know, I think that bone is there for a reason to protect you. And I hit it good. And it hurt, but it’s getting better, like I said.”
Pulisic is injured while scored the only goal of the USMNT Must win against Iran. “I got kneed in a nice spot in the pelvis — it wasn’t nice,” he said Thursday. He sat in the goalmouth for several minutes while receiving treatment. He returned to the game and stuck around in the minutes leading up to the break, but was in pain as he moved sensibly. Head coach Gregg Berhalter later said Pulisic was feeling “dizzy”. Berhalter pulled him from the game and coach Harris Patel took him to a nearby hospital.
While on the road, Pulisic followed the game on Patel’s phone and “it was like the hardest thing,” he said. Doctors checked his “blood sugar and everything, and it was flying through the roof,” but nothing happened to him; “I was under a lot of stress after watching the game,” Pulisic said.
In the hospital, Pulisic has been diagnosed with a “pelvic contusion”. But he FaceTimed the players as they returned to the locker room after the 1-0 win. When they got back to the team hotel – The luxurious Marsa Malaz Kempinski at The Pearl – Pulisic was there to welcome them with a boyish smile of delight. He filmed their arrival on his phone and hugged Tim Weah, DeAndre Yedlin and others.
The players said after the game that Pulisic was “fine” and of course in “good spirits”. The next day, a source told Yahoo Sports that Pulisic had improved significantly, but the USMNT said his condition remained “day-to-day” on Saturday and was unclear.
Asked if he would train on Thursday night, Pulisic said: “I will now meet with the team and the medical staff and make a decision today. Right now, day by day, I’ll see how I feel. But I’ll do my best to be on the field on Saturday.”
When asked if he had a chance no After playing Saturday, he paused for a moment and smiled. “That’s a nice way of phrasing the question,” he laughs. “I’m taking it day by day right now, I’m going to work with this medical team and do everything I can to make sure I can play.”
Josh Sargent, who left Tuesday’s game in the second half with an ankle injury, is also “out for the day,” a USMNT spokesman said.
If Sargent is unable to play, Haji Wright or Jesus Ferreira will likely start in his place.
If Pulisic can’t, Brenden Aaronson will be the left wing substitute. Aaronson replaced Pulisic at halftime in Tuesday’s game when Pulisic was unfit in the past, including in November’s World Cup qualifier against Mexico. Gio Reina could also be an option, but has only played 8 minutes off the bench all competition.
Pulisic and Sargent will remain “day-to-day” until the line-up is announced within 90 minutes of kick-off on Saturday. There is no incentive for US Soccer to begin practice in the Netherlands as if a player is starting or not playing. After the first 15 minutes of Thursday’s practice were said to be open to the media, practice was closed entirely.