Christian Pulisic’s stern future message after Nations League win

Despite making the Round of 16 in the 2022 FIFA World Cup, things didn’t go exactly as well Christian Pulisic and the USMNT as hoped. The Gio Reyna-Gregg Berhalter drama cast a huge shadow over the the team during that time, with Pulisic even saying that circumstances unfolded as if children were involved in the proceedings. But now, the USMNT certainly looks like it’s on its way to righting the ship, especially after a strong CONCACAF Nations League performance that ended in jubilation.

Despite missing Weston McKennie and Sergino Dest during the Final against Canada after the two were handed red cards during their tense semifinal affair against Mexico, USMNT still prevailed. Thanks to goals from Chris Richards and Folarin Balogun, two Premier League talents hailing from Crystal Palace and Arsenal, respectively, USMNT won 2-0, successfully defending their Nations League crown in the process.

Nevertheless, even with that triumphant performance, team captain Christian Pulisic vowed that the USMNT’s success wouldn’t stop at the CONCACAF Nations League. Sure, this is something to celebrate for the entire squad, but he hopes that they carry on this killer mentality in bigger tournaments such as the FIFA World Cup and Copa America.

“It’s another step in the right direction,” Pulisic said, per ESPN.  “It’s just going to be about these knockout games. Come those big tournaments, Copa America, World Cup, it’s time to get tough. […] We got to step up and score the goals when it counts and keep them out of our goal.”

In three straight World Cup appearances (2010, 2014, and 2022), the USMNT failed to get past the Round of 16. They came up short against Ghana and Belgium in extra time during 2010 and 2014, respectively, while Netherlands looked like the more assured team throughout the entirety of the USMNT’s 3-1 defeat to the Dutch over six months ago.

Still, the USMNT’s victory in the Nations League should give them a huge uptick in confidence, especially as members of their young core hit their peak. Christian Pulisic is only 24 years old, while Folarin Balogun, who looks like USMNT’s main man up top for years to come, is only 21. Gio Reyna, the 20-year old attacking midfielder, looks like he’s also back to playing at his best.

Surely better things are yet to come for the USMNT.