Christian Pulisic came barrelling in like the superhero of his nickname’s namesake, but unlike the Captain America of the comics and movies, this one is no supersoldier with a shield, just a fragile meatsack with a couple shin pads.
And those shin pads didn’t offer much protection when Pulisic scored what proved to be the winning goal for the USA last night, putting his body on the line to convert Sergiño Dest’s cross while colliding with Iran goalkeeper Alireza Beiranvand. The collision left Pulisic in a heap, unable to celebrate at all, and, after gritting out the last few minutes of the half, unable to continue after half-time.
Instead, Pulisic was off to hospital for some unspecified tests. USMNT head coach Gregg Berhalter called it an “abdominal injury” when interviewed at half-time, and the concern was later confirmed to be a “pelvic contusion” — with the clear worry on internal bleeding or damage, rather than any superficial injury. To illustrate just how violent the collision was, injuries like these are most commonly seen in car crashes.
Thankfully, Pulisic was discharged before long, and even welcomed the team back to their hotel as they returned from the stadium.
In a Snapchat message that had gotten out and subsequently went viral, Pulisic expressed some optimism that he will be back for Saturday’s Last 16 showdown against the Netherlands.