Chelsea forward Christian Pulisic unlikely to start for United States in World Cup Qualifier

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Chelsea forward Christian Pulisic unlikely to start for United States in World Cup Qualifier
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Christian Pulisic is unlikely to start when the United States take on Mexico in a World Cup Qualifier on Friday evening

The Chelsea forward has struggled with injury all season and only recently made his return to Thomas Tuchel’s first-team.

For his part, Tuchel did admit he and his team were slightly concerned about the 23-year-old’s workload during the international break, so the fact Pulisic isn’t in line for a start as things stand must surely be considered a boost.

U.S. coach Gregg Berhalter said Thursday that he envisions the 23-year-old attacker entering the game off the bench.

Pulisic sprained his left ankle during the Americans’ World Cup qualifier at Honduras on Sept. 8 and didn’t play again until Nov. 2, when came on for the final 17 minutes of Chelsea’s Champions League match at Malmo.

He saw action for the final six minutes of Chelsea’s Premier League game at Burnley on Saturday.

Berhalter said Zack Steffen will be in goal for Friday’s game over Matt Turner, just Steffen’s sixth match since the start of the 2021-22 club season and his second for the U.S.

Steffen played for Manchester City in the Community Shield on Aug. 7, then in the League Cup against Wycombe on Sept. 21 and West Ham on Oct. 27. His only Premier League game was against Burnley on Oct. 16.

Turner started the first five qualifiers for the U.S. and Steffen took over for the Oct. 13 match against Costa Rica, a 2-1 win.

Additional reporting from AP

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