Chelsea ultimately fell to Liverpool in a penalty kick shootout, but Christian Pulisic was a force for Thomas Tuchel’s team during Saturday’s FA Cup final. Pulisic didn’t end up on the score sheet – no one did during the 120 combined minutes of regulation and extra time – but he performed exactly like the kind of player that the U.S. men’s national team needs him to be. He was active with his off-ball movement, dangerous on the dribble, and created a couple of chances for his teammates.
Starting as Chelsea’s left winger in their 3-4-3 before moving into the No. 9 position late in the game, Pulisic did an excellent job of moving inside the box to create shots for himself. He made a couple of these weak-side to strong-side runs, starting away from the play…
Before cutting inside…
…and getting a shot off.
None of Pulisic’s three shots found the back of the net on Saturday, but producing repeatable goalscoring chances like he did against Liverpool is exactly what you want to do as an attacking player. If you produce enough of those chances, you will start scoring goals.
Pulisic’s off-ball movement was sharp over the weekend – and he had some quality work on the ball as well. He beat defenders with his dribbling (no one completed more dribbles than the U.S. attacker) and he released the ball early enough to create a couple of chances for his teammates. Given that Pulisic struggled to beat players on the dribble and to release the ball on time during stretches of World Cup qualifying, his performance in the FA Cup final can only be a good thing for the USMNT as the June international break gets closer.