Christian Pulisic cleared to play for U.S. vs. Netherlands in World Cup Round of 16 matc


DOHA, Qatar — Christian Pulisic has been cleared to play in the U.S. men’s national team’s World Cup Round of 16 game against the Netherlands, the USMNT announced Friday night.

Pulisic trained on Friday here at Al-Gharafa, where he was assessed by coaches and team staff. Head coach Gregg Berhalter had said earlier that he was “hopeful” Pulisic would play on Saturday; the training session brought confirmation.

Berhalter said that he was “a little less” hopeful about striker Josh Sargent, though.

“He’s another one we’re gonna test in training, see where he’s at,” Berhalter said Friday. The team did not offer an official update on Sargent’s status.

Both Pulisic and Sargent took part in Friday’s warmup, which was the only portion of training open to media. Neither looked noticeably impaired, and both milled about with smiles on their faces before and in between activities. (Sargent was one of the last players onto the field, but it’s unclear whether that’s at all significant.)

Both players suffered their injuries in Tuesday’s 1-0 win over Iran. Pulisic suffered a “pelvic contusion,” while scoring the goal that clinched the U.S. a place in the knockout rounds. Sargent, who started both the Wales and Iran games, landed awkwardly after evading a challenge in the second half, and left the game with an ankle problem.

Pulisic said Thursday, at the halfway point between games, that he was “feeling better.” The knock — “a knee … to a nice pelvis area” — “was very painful,” he said. It was initially sore, but by the following afternoon, his condition had improved significantly, a source told Yahoo Sports. On Thursday, he appeared to be moving normally, and was pictured in training gear on the field with teammates Thursday night.

Pulisic said Thursday that he’d do “everything in my power to be able to be out there on the field Saturday.”

Sargent’s status remains uncertain, but he, too, will likely be willing to push through pain.

“At this stage, it’s go time,” Berhalter said Friday. “If you can push through it, you do. I’m sure he’ll have that mindset.”

If Sargent can’t play, Haji Wright — who started against England, and replaced Sargent against Wales and Iran — and Jesús Ferreira would be the primary options to start in his place. Berhalter has, in the past and this week, said that he is not considering playing Tim Weah or other non-strikers in the center forward position.

USMNT’s Christian Pulisic said he’s doing everything he can to play Saturday versus Netherlands. (Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images)