Christian Pulisic, United States
Pulisic has 5 goals and 1 assist in his last six games played for the USMNT

SEATTLE - It took some time, but it seems like Christian Pulisic has finally found his place in the world of soccer. After a turbulent four-year chapter with Chelsea, where he struggled to find a regular place among the starting XI under five different managers, it looks like the Hershey, PA, native has finally settled down in the city of Milan.

The American winger is having an exceptional 2023-24 season, reaching his first 20+ goal involvement season since 2019-20. Pulisic has become a key player for AC Milan and manager Stefano Pioli, starting in 25 of the 39 games he has played for the Serie A club this season.

Clocking almost 3,000 minutes with still a few months left in the campaign, Pioli's trust has been breath of fresh air for Pulisic, who barely played 1,000 minutes for Chelsea last season. Such has been his importance that only two outfield players have seen more minutes of play than the American this season for the Italian giants.

Accounting for 12 goals and eight assists for the "Rossoneri" so far, the 25-year-old seems to have hit peak form at the perfect timing. That's because this year Pulisic's national team is trying to make a statement in what looks to be a busy Spring and Summer. "We want to change the way that the world sees American soccer, to be honest; that's one of our goals," said Pulisic before the 2022 World Cup. That didn't happen then, as the USMNT got knocked out in the round of 16, but 2024 could offer them a new chance.

The United States start the year with the CONCACAF Nations League finals, as the Stars and Stripes try to secure a third consecutive title in the competition. A few months later, they will be the hosts of the second Copa América to take place outside of South America, a competition in which they will try to improve the 4th-place finish obtained in the 2016 edition.

To do so, they will need to rely on one of their best generations in recent memory with Pulisic as their leader. Fortunately for them, "the man in the mirror" has shown in multiple occasions that he is up to the task.

Christian Pulisic, United States
Christian Pulisic celebrates scoring against Mexico during the U.S. 2-0 victory over their rivals in World Cup Qualifiers Via @USMNT on X/Twitter

The first international break of the year couldn't have come at a better time for Pulisic, who will arrive to the CNL Final Four having scored in each of his last four games for Milan. His nine Serie A goals have helped the Rossoneri reach second place in the Italian league so far and sit comfortably in their fight for Champions League spots. Among all AC Milan players, only Olivier Giroud (14) has scored more goals than Pulisic this season.

His 28 goals for the senior national team place him among the six best goal scorers in USMNT history, with some of those coming in clutch moments. Out of the total, four have come against Mexico and, more than likely, Pulisic will have the chance to come up with another strike against El Tri pretty soon as both teams might face each other at the CONCACAF Nations League final.

It's fair to say that since Landon Donovan and Clint Dempsey retired from international soccer, CONCACAF's biggest rivalry hadn't seen an individual understand and embody this clash more than Pulisic. His four goals in the U.S.-Mexico rivalry are the third most by any American just behind Dempsey's five and Donovan's six goals. Throughout his professional career, Pulisic has only scored more goals against Crystal Palace (5) than against Mexico (4).

A game-winning goal in the 114th minute of extra time gave the United States a win over their archrivals in the Nations League final of 2021. A few months later, he followed it with a goal in World Cup Qualifying to take his personal tally to two goals against Mexico. And just last year, a Pulisic brace helped the USMNT secure a 3-0 win over El Tri at the CNL semifinals.

With the AC Milan player as the USMNT talisman, Gregg Berhalter and his team will try to make 2024 a year to remember. A third Nations League title would consolidate Pulisic's name among the greats while Copa Amérca would be the ultimate glory for the U.S., as they are yet to win a trophy in any tournament not sanctioned by CONCACAF.

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