There were incredible scenes from the pitch at Turf Moor on Saturday after Christian Pulisic unleashed his third magic trick on the day, a header so clinical that the fans started to cheer even before the ball grazed the back net. For it was the momentous culmination of what many are starting to call one of the most important single-game performances for an American footballer in recent history as he had completed his first-ever hat trick in the Premier League.
To many fans from all across the country, the 21-year-old from Pennsylvania has served as a symbol as to what the future of world football could look like in this country. It's safe to say that many times we Americans care about a sport when we can latch ourselves on to a hero we can identify with, mostly another American. And while there have been some great soccer players in the Prem before like Clint Dempsey, there has never been one this hyped up to play for one of the "Big 6". That is until this past June when Pulisic made his long-awaited move to Chelsea from Borussia Dortmund.
Before Saturday, Pulisic had struggled to find many minutes under manager Frank Lampard. Before he hit the field against Burnley, Captain America had appeared in only nine matches and had yet to make much of an impact. It's safe to say that Pulisic needed to learn how to work up to the relentless speed found in England's top flight, and it was understandably taking him a little more time just like it does for most young players coming into the league for the first time.
When he was announced in the starting lineup, Lampard told the press that he was pleased with the American's recent strides, especially in the Champions League. "It's brilliant that he's coming on and making the impact that he's making and of course he'll get his starts, that's the reason he's come here...Christian is getting stronger and he's getting more in the group."
Now that Pulisic has finally broken into the scoring column for Chelsea, and also became the youngest player in club history to complete a hat trick in the Prem, what does this mean for his playing time moving forward? As of writing, Lampard and company have the best problem you could ever hope for in that they have several good to great attacking threats on their side, with some not even sniffing the bench at times.
Guys like Callum Hudson-Odoi, Mason Mount, Michy Batshuayi, and Tammy Abraham all join Pulisic as the young guard who are trying to knock guys like Willian, Olivier Giroud, and Pedro off as key contributors. And while before this match many thought that he was lost in the shuffle, this performance will undoubtedly open up many sets of eyes inside Stamford Bridge.
Honestly, at the end of the day, it's just nice to see a young budding American superstar play the beautiful game at such a high level if only for 90 fleeting minutes. And while I am far from a Chelsea supporter, I might need to start thinking about picking up a Pulisic kit.
PULISIC HATTRICK AHHHHH pic.twitter.com/UPNktW4pBp— NBC Sports Soccer (@NBCSportsSoccer) October 26, 2019
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