Pulisic’s first hat-trick puts America on brink of World Cup win 5-1

Christian Pulisic hugged his parents in front of the stands, after his first international hat-trick, all three were filled with excitement.

Outside on the field, American players hoisted a red and blue banner with “LOL” in bold, white letters.

not enough. But close.

“We know we’re not there yet, regardless of what that banner said,” American coach Greg Berhalter maintained after beating Panama 5-1 on Sunday night.

Pulisic converted two penalty kicks during four goals in the first half, which also saw Paul Arriola and Jess Ferreira score, then extended the lead 5–0 on a memorable goal with two brilliant touches, which helped defenders. Saved a pair.

With fans furious after the Americans’ failure to reach the 2018 World Cup, the US assumed a commanding position to qualify for November’s tournament in Qatar.

The Americans would not finish in the top three nations in North and Central America and the Caribbean and claim an automatic berth due to a loss of only six or more goals in Wednesday night’s finale in Costa Rica. They can’t finish worse than fourth, which earns the June playoffs against New Zealand.

In October 2017, the United States defeated Panama 4–0 in Orlando and needed only a draw in Trinidad four days later, but lost 2–1. Pulisic and Arriola were the only holdovers from that night.

“I’m not celebrating anything,” said Ariola. “I was in this exact situation or a very similar situation four years ago, and we know how that qualification ended.”

Pulisic left the stadium without speaking to reporters, and the US Soccer Federation distributed anodyne quotes under his name.

Berhalter gave him the captain’s armband over Tyler Adams.

“I guess because of the trip,” said Berhalter, “you have a guy who’s been there before. He was on the field when we weren’t qualifying. And this we were telling him, this is a new The group is there, it’s a new team and you are the leader.

Pulisic has 21 international goals, including 12 in World Cup qualifying. He scored in the 17th minute and fourth minute of first-half stoppage time, improving 6-for-6 on a penalty kick in his US career after being fouled by Annibal Godoy.

His goal in the 65th minute was brilliant. After Luca de la Torre and Antoine Robinson exchanged passes twice, Robinson passed. With his back to goal, a spinning Pulisic took a touch with his left foot, swung around Fidel Escobar and dummy the ball through his legs. Pulisic poked the ball through Andres Andrade’s legs from the outside of his right foot and slid over the sliding goalkeeper’s leg from Luis Mejia with his right foot from 8 yards.

Pulisic’s previous hat-trick was in the Premier League for Chelsea against Burnley in October 2019. In the modern era, America did not score twice on a penalty kick in a match.

His fire appeared during a vigorous confrontation with Michael Amir Murillo, who earned him a yellow card in the 69th minute.

“His role involves making special plays and scoring a few goals,” Berhalter said. “His defensive work is doubles, his second balls, his picks, dribbling, you name it, he did it tonight.”

Godoy scored for Panama in the 86th with a header from a free kick from Eric Davis that defeated Zack Stephens.

Canada has 28 points and holds its first place since 1986 with a 4–0 win over Jamaica, the United States second on goal difference with 25 points and Costa Rica fourth with 22 points. is on.

While the Americas have never won in Costa Rica, the goal difference is the first tiebreaker, and the Americans range from plus-13 to plus-three of the Ticos. The US also has a second tiebreaker for total goals, 21 to 11.

Panama was eliminated after reaching the World Cup for the first time in 2018.

The US scored four goals in the opening half of the qualifiers for the first time since a 5–2 victory over Cuba in 1949.

Salvadoran referee Evan Barton awarded the first penalty after a video review showed Godoy pushing his Nashville teammate Walker Zimmerman in the face.

Pulisic assisted in the second goal in the 23rd minute, down a length ball from Zimmermann and passed to Antoine Robinson, who passed. Ariola, all 5-foot-6, stunned 5-foot-11 Davis for his ninth international goal – just the second goal on a header in his professional career.

Berhalter has been criticized for choosing Ariola by fans who have repeatedly slandered Major League Soccer players in online forums.

“There are always going to be people who hate and have their own opinion, and I just try and focus on myself,” said Ariola, with a smile. “I know how valuable I am and how valuable I can be to this team.”

Ferreira scored 3-0 in the 29th minute with a 4-yard right footed shot that defeated goalkeeper Luis Mejia. Ferreira’s third international goal capped a flowing buildup that included Shaq Moore (four touches), Younes Musah and Ariola (two touches each) and Luca de la Torre.

Moore was involved as of late as fourth choice after Sergio Dest suffered a thigh injury, DeAndre Yedlin was suspended for yellow-card accumulation and Reggie Cannon tested positive for COVID-19. About 20 members of the US Traveling Party were found to have stomach worms in Mexico.

Godoy’s second penalty was for pushing Miles Robinson. Luis Mejia dived left, and Pulisic went to the top right of the keeper with the first kick. Mejia guessed correctly on second, but Pulisic’s drive was too hard and too close to the post to reach the keeper. Pulisic celebrated with a Worm Dance after his second goal.

Arriola smiled and said, “I’ll probably give him five times. I felt like he could have been a little more flexible.”

Notes: Costa Rica won El Salvador 2–1 on a bicycle kick in the 30th minute by Anthony Contreras goals and Joel Campbell in the 31st minute around Christian Gil’s score in the first minute of first half stoppage time 2–1 Of. … Mexico registered a 1-0 win in Honduras on a 70th-minute goal from Edson lvarez.


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