Pulisic Scores Game-Winner, Wins Second Trophy in as Many Weeks

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Last night Christian Pulisic lifted the CONCACAF Nations League trophy with the United States Men’s National Team, one weekend after holding the UEFA Champions League Cup with Chelsea FC. The USMNT star delivered the game winning scoring strike too, converting a 114′ penalty in the Stars and Stripes’ 3-2 AET win over arch-rival Mexico.

Captain America wanted to be the man to rise up and meet the moment, to assume the leadership role and he delivered.  Take a look below, as Pulisic went upper 90, after having an extremely prolonged period of time before the PK setup.

It took almost 15 minutes between the call and the shot to get the penalty kick (a pen Pulisic earned) executed, so in other words, lot of time to potentially “ice the kicker,” but the Pennsylvanian Messi was very cold-blooded.

“I’m going to go out swinging,” Pulisic said in a TV interview after the game. “So I’m gonna go for it, and it worked out.”

He now has 16 goals in 37 games with his national side, putting him just one scoring strike away from entering the USA’s all-time top ten. Considering that he’s just 22-years-old, it’s an amazing stat. He also provided the corner kick and entry pass that set up Giovanni Reyna’s equalizer.

While Pulisic provided plenty of heroics, he wasn’t THE hero of the match however. That’s Ethan Horvath, the USA’s back-up goalkeeper forced into emergency action after No. 1 Zack Steffen suffered a non-contact injury. Horvath defied the odds, and provided numerous saves, including the BIG ONE, against Andres Guardado while the USA was up 3-2 in the second period of extra time.

Overall, it was an asbolutely bonkers match in Denver, before an absolutely raucous and nutty crowd at Mile High Point. The newly renamed Empower Field, has a moniker that is rather ironic, when you consider this match was temporarily halted due to the crowd consistently making Anti-Gay chants. There was also a steady stream of projectiles, and you have to wonder about the stadium security fails leading to that.

“Total lack of respect for what’s happening on the field and all effort that both teams are putting into the game,” U.S. Head coach Gregg Berhalter said of the objects being thrown onto the pitch, one even hitting Reyna in the face!

Reyna was down on the ground for several minutes before later walking off the field with trainers.

“I think he’s going to be OK, but he did take something to the head, and it could have been a lot worse,” Berhalter said of Reyna, who was there to celebrate with his teammates at medal awarding ceremony time.

Like all US-MEX matches, there were altercations/fights/jawing, and oh by the way, the main announcer on the U.S. telecast wore a camo suit coat. Just in case things weren’t weird enough already.

This was the first trophy with the Stars and Stripes for both Pulisic and Reyna. It’s safe to say that Pulisic has seen his summer get off to a great start.

Paul M. Banks runs The Sports Bank, partnered with News NowBanks, the author of “No, I Can’t Get You Free Tickets: Lessons Learned From a Life in the Sports Media Industry,” has regularly appeared in WGNSports IllustratedChicago Tribune and SB NationFollow him on Twitter and Instagram.

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