USA’s Christian Pulisic (top) has scored six goals in CONCACAF qualifying for the 2018 FIFA World Cup. (Photo: Mexsport)
ORLANDO, Florida – United States head coach Bruce Arena doesn't plan on having his attack revolve around Christian Pulisic.
After reviewing video of the 19-year-old's superlative performance in the 4-0 triumph over Panama in a World Cup qualifier Friday night, he may have second thoughts.
Pulisic scored the first goal, assisted on the second and set the tone in the CONCACAF Hexagonal match.
“I've never built a team around one player," Arena said, adding that Pulisic “is an exceptional player and he stands out, but we don't build a team around Christian. For Christian to be more effective, he needs to have good players around him. The better collection of players we have around Christian, he's just going to be a better player."
Still, the Borussia Dortmund midfielder received high praise from Jozy Altidore, a force himself against the Panamanians with two goals and one assist.
"He was able to just disrupt them in so many ways, and you saw the difference he can make in the middle of the park, being able to go each way and just being so dynamic," remarked the Toronto FC star. "I hate to kind of pour too much praise on him. I know he's a young kid.
"He's got a lot of work to do. But you can't help not see the difference he makes when he's on the field, especially when he's in the middle of everything."
Pulisic was only thinking of one thing.
“We needed a win, but the job is not done,” he expressed.
Depending on other results, the third-place U.S. may need to win at Trinidad & Tobago on Tuesday to earn direct qualification to Russia 2018.