Christian Pulisic scored his first goal since the opening day of the 2017-18 German Bundesliga season in Borussia Dortmund’s comfortable 3-0 win over Bobby Wood and Hamburg.
Pulisic’s goal was the third of Dortmund’s three. He peeled back to the edge of the box, then took Mahmoud Dahoud’s square pass in stride and finished with aplomb, off the far post and in:
The American teenager, who just turned 19 on Monday, also had a hand in Dortmund’s second goal. He raced through the heart of Hamburg’s midfield in transition, and sprayed the ball wide to Andriy Yarmolenko. Yarmolenko’s deflected shot/cross was tapped in by Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang at the far post:
But it wasn’t just the goal, or the involvement in the goal. Pulisic was outstanding throughout the match. He may very well have been Dortmund’s best player on the balance of the 90 minutes. He terrorized Hamburg’s defenders with his pace, and easily could have had another goal or assist to his name.
On one first-half occasion, he singlehandedly set Dortmund off on a counter by skipping by one Hamburg player and shrugging off another in his own defensive third:
His pass to Aubameyang curtailed that attack. He also combined beautifully with Aubameyang during another first-half move. This time, he showed patience, and used the runs of Aubameyang and Yarmolenko open up a shot for himself. But he dragged that shot just wide of the far post. He also had a second first-half shot saved.
Dortmund manager Peter Bosz had dropped Pulisic from his starting lineup for Sunday’s 5-0 win over Cologne, and the U.S. forward had endured a relatively tough few games prior. He was stifled by Costa Rica and Honduras over the international break, then frustrated during a 0-0 draw with Freiburg. He was lively last Wednesday in the Champions League against Tottenham, but his end product was lacking.
But there is nothing to fret about. Pulisic looked as good as ever Wednesday, and appears to be in fine form with two crucial World Cup qualifiers looming in early October.
And, the Champions League defeat aside, Dortmund look even better as a unit. It still hasn’t conceded a goal in the Bundesliga through five games, and sits atop the table, one point ahead of Bayern Munich.
Pulisic and Dortmund will be back in action on Saturday against Borussia Monchengladbach at 12:30 ET. They then host Real Madrid in the Champions League on Tuesday.
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Henry Bushnell covers soccer – the U.S. national teams, the Premier League, and much, much more – for FC Yahoo and Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Question? Comment? Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @HenryBushnell.