‘He gave his body for his country’: Alexi Lalas heaps praise on Christian Pulisic after he suffered painful injury scoring USA’s winner over Iran… as Clint Dempsey claims it was the biggest goal of his CAREER
Alexi Lalas gushed with praise for Christian Pulisic after the USA’s nail-biting 1-0 victory vs. Iran Tuesday, as the winger’s decisive strike came at a massive cost to his body.
Pulisic put the USMNT ahead in the 38th minute after a headed cross from Sergino Dest, but celebrations of the close-range finish were muted as he collided with Iran goalkeeper Alireza Beiranvand on the play right after connecting with the ball.
After staying down for several minutes, Pulisic continued for the rest of the first half, but was subbed off at halftime with what FOX Sports later called an abdominal injury.
Christian Pulisic’s first-half goal vs. Iran came with a price, as he was injured during the play
Pulisic exited the game at half-time due to the injury, with Brenden Aaronson replacing him
He remained down for several minutes, and appeared in serious pain before briefly carrying on
Nonetheless, the USA were able to hold on and win without him, and Lalas made sure to recognize Pulisic’s bravery after the match.
‘I mean, he just gave his body for his country in that moment,’ the FOX analyst said.
‘As you said, he wanted it more. He made up incredible amounts of space in a very short period of time to get by his defenders. And just put his body on the line and put that ball in, it was the decider.
Clint Dempsey, who himself scored four World Cup goals for the USMNT, was also quick to hail the significance of the game-winner.
‘Christian, we talked about legacies, stepping up in big moments, getting important goals,’ he said. ‘I don’t know if there is a bigger goal in his career than that one right there.
USA coach Gregg Berhalter said after the game that there was no update on the attacker, while FOX said during the postgame show that he was taken to the hospital.
‘I’ve been saying all along, it is a wonderful thing when one of your best players is one of the hardest working,’ Berhalter said of Pulisic. ‘I can’t say enough positive things about Christian.
Alexi Lalas praised Christian Pulisic for his bravery after the USA’s win on Tuesday over Iran
The USMNT face the Netherlands on Saturday in the round of 16, with Pulisic now facing a race to be fit for that game.
For now, however, the USA can celebrate getting out of a tricky Group B, with Pulisic’s teammates clearly grateful for his contributions after the game.
‘Obviously we’re very thankful that he threw his body there, but the thing is, we have 25 other guys outside of Christian that would do the same thing, I believe,’ Weston McKennie said.
‘We know what our goal is, we know what we want to do, what we want to accomplish, and everybody is willing to give everything.
‘Unfortunately he had to come out. But if you see the stature Christian has and he’s throwing his body on the line, that should tell you enough what the team means and how close this team is.’