Chelsea Star Christian Pulisic to Miss USA World Cup Qualifier

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When the United States takes on El Salvador tonight in a World Cup qualifier, they will be without the services of the two players who suited up for the UEFA Champions League final at the end of May.

USMNT Coach Gregg Berhalter revealed that Chelsea wing Christian Pulisic and Manchester City goalkeeper Zack Steffen are out of commission for tonight’s match. Pulisic will stay in Nashville and work on his fitness levels after having had to quarantine for 10 days, following a positive test for covid-19.

It was a breakthrough infection, as Pulisic was fully vaccinated.

“We really didn’t get to assess [Pulisic] in a proper way and see his fitness levels,” Berhalter said.

“The next couple days, we’ll be working with him to see exactly where he is, and we’ll get a report when we get back.”

His status is day-to-day, and he’s considered a doubt for the next qualifier, on Sunday against Canada.

As for Steffen, he’s been battling back spasms, so Matt Turner will sub in for him in between the sticks.

“It’s something that just crept up on him over the last couple of days,” said Berhalter about Steffen.

“He woke up today and his back was extremely tight, and it was going to be really touch and go to see if he could play any part in the game. We thought it was best to have him get rehab and try to make a run for Sunday, potentially.”

So like Pulisic, he is also a doubt for Sunday. This is a very critical time for the United States.

They finally have most of their key players back and playing together (obviously not these two right now) in their so-called “golden generation.”

They need to make amends for the embarrassment that was not qualifying for the 2018 World Cup, and that starts now.

Paul M. Banks runs The Sports Bank, partnered with News NowBanks, the author of “Transatlantic Passage: How the English Premier League Redefined Soccer in America” and “No, I Can’t Get You Free Tickets: Lessons Learned From a Life in the Sports Media Industry,” has regularly appeared in WGNSports Illustrated and the Chicago Tribune.

Follow him on Twitter and Instagram.

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