DOHA, Qatar — Christian Pulisic was comfortable to discuss what happened leading as much as the goal he scored on Tuesday that carried america into the round of 16 on the World Cup.
He was comfortable to speak concerning the ride to the hospital after colliding with Iran’s goalie, about how during that journey he followed the remainder of the sport on a trainer’s cellphone, and about the possibilities — not 100%, he said Thursday — that he can be available to play when america faces the Netherlands on Saturday.
What he was far less comfortable talking about, as he stared out into the faces of at the very least 100 journalists, were the small print of where he had been injured. U.S. Soccer has labeled Pulisic’s injury a “pelvic contusion.” Asked by a reporter to make clear what that meant, Pulisic took an extended pause.
“I mean,” he said, “it’s a pelvic contusion, ?” The pelvic bone, he added, “is there for a reason, and I hit it well.”
The specifics hardly matter. What does matter, at the very least for america, is that Pulisic admitted he was unsure he can be physically able to going through a full training session together with his teammates Thursday, 48 hours before they play the largest game of their lives.
Pulisic’s problem, principally, is that the shot he took within the collision while scoring in Tuesday’s 1-0 victory had affected his ability to do his job. A soccer player’s hips, and particularly any of the muscles and tendons and tissue that support them, do vital and interconnected work in assisting movement, turning and sprinting. Pulisic appeared to admit that, at the very least as of Thursday, he was unsure he had recovered sufficiently to give you the option to perform at the extent he knows can be required on Saturday. Privately, the team expects him to play.
“I’m going to go now and meet with the team and the medical staff and make a call on today, just sort of see how I’m feeling,” he said in his first public comments for the reason that injury. “Taking it day-to-day for now, but doing the whole lot in my power to give you the option to be on the market on the sector on Saturday.”
It had been excruciating, he admitted, to go away the sport after scoring. Pulisic had lain on the sector for several minutes after scoring, then needed assistance to get to his feet and remain standing. After a number of minutes, he returned to the sport, but minutes later, the halftime whistle blew.
Pulisic collided with Iran goalkeeper Alireza Beiranvand after scoring his first goal of the World Cup.Credit…Kai Pfaffenbach/Reuters
When his team returned to the sector for the second half, though, Pulisic was gone.
“Obviously the emotions were running so high, so I used to be doing the whole lot I could to proceed playing,” he said. “It was all sort of a blur, to be honest.”
After an assessment of his condition was made at halftime, the U.S. Soccer medical staff determined he needed to go to a hospital for scans to find out the complete nature of his injury. A team trainer, Harris Patel, went along; on the way in which, he called up a video feed of the sport on his phone so he and Pulisic could watch.
“It was the toughest thing,” Pulisic said. “I believe they were checking my blood sugar and the whole lot, and it was flying through the roof, but wasn’t due to anything — it was just me stress-watching the sport. Once I got through that, and the ultimate whistle blew, I used to be very comfortable.”
Saturday’s game can be a difficult one to miss. The US has not played a knockout game on the World Cup since 2014, and the present team represents a latest generation of players who’ve high hopes not just for this tournament, but for the World Cup that can happen in america, Canada and Mexico in 2026.
Pulisic already has one good memory from this one — and one excruciating one. But as he sat alongside his teammate Timothy Weah, who has scored the Americans’ only other goal in Qatar, within the team’s opening game, a 1-1 tie against Wales, Pulisic said they still felt they’d an extended method to go.
“It feels great to attain in a World Cup,” Pulisic said when asked if he had enjoyed his special moment of the tournament already. “Timmy knows what that’s like. I’m hoping I haven’t had that moment yet. I’m hoping it’s in front of me.”