Cayman football fans had cause for excitement and disappointment over the last few days.
American star Christian Pulisic, who is having a breakout campaign for Chelsea in the English Premier League, was announced Thursday as part of the Team USA squad that will compete in Cayman next week. But a few days later, Pulisic was ruled out of the team due to a hip injury.
The US Soccer Men’s National Team page on Twitter announced that Pulisic would miss the trip to Cayman on Monday, and coach Gregg Berhalter said the decision was made out of caution.
“Christian is officially at this stage ruled out,” Berhalter said, according to the USMNT Twitter page. “These decisions are always difficult because this group and the coaching staff want nothing more than to have Christian here, but it was a risk we weren’t willing to take at this time.”
Pulisic, 21, has made 34 appearances and scored 14 goals for the US national team. He moved from Dortmund to Chelsea in a transfer deal worth $73 million, and he has scored five times in his first nine league games for Chelsea. Three of those goals came in a hat trick against Burnley.
Pulisic became just the second American player to score a hat trick in the Premier League, following Clint Dempsey, who had managed the feat for Fulham against Newcastle in 2012.
The US has two CONCACAF Nations League games scheduled. One will be played against Canada in Orlando on 15 Nov., and the other will be played against Cuba at Truman Bodden Sports Complex on 19 Nov. The Cuba game was moved to Cayman due to renovations on a Cuban stadium.
Team USA will need victories over both Canada and Cuba to win its Nations League group.
Fifteen of the 23 players on Team USA play in Major League Soccer, the top football league in the US. Prominent exceptions include DeAndre Yedlin, who turns out for Newcastle in the EPL, and Tim Ream, who plays for Fulham in the English Football League Championship division.
Fullback Sergino Dest, who plays for AFC Ajax in the Dutch Eredivise, will be making his first appearance with Team USA since announcing last month that he intends to play for the US rather than the Netherlands. Dest was born in the Netherlands but is eligible to play for the US through his father.