Christian Pulisic was on the field as a 19-year-old in Couva, Trinidad on October 10, 2017 when the USMNT failed to qualify for the 2018 FIFA World Cup. Following the disappointment, he regrouped and helped lead the USMNT through the 2022 World Cup Qualifying cycle and ultimately back to the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar.
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Yeah this is this is the game that we Failed to qualify Definitely Sort of a free game and some free goals It felt like early in that game and Unfortunately we just couldn't turn it Around and It just wasn't meant to be for that World Cup for us that's how I always Looked at it and I used this as as a lot Of motivation for sure a lot was going On in my head you know one of my biggest Dreams was to was to be in you know play In a world cup so to be honest I I you Know I took a lot of Um that weight on my shoulders at that Time because I felt like you know it was My job to help a team to you know to you Know score goals and get put us in a Position where we would qualify for that World Cup so that whole process was was Definitely tough on me And obviously at the end not qualifying Was uh you know one of the biggest Disappointments of my life There was you know for sure a little Chip on my shoulder throughout the whole Qualifying process I felt like I had to Really perform Um and be be the main man at times when There came a point where I realized I Don't need to be that with this team I Felt like there's so many unbelievable Players in this team now the but uh I
Can just be my you know my best self and Be a part of the team and and that's Enough and you know I had a couple Moments where I you know I could shine Through and help the team I think that's What I'm about but at the end of the day I really you know use my teammates and And leaned on them at times and uh you Know the guys did an unbelievable job of Of you know getting us to that point but We really wanted to put ourselves in a Good position you know going into that Panama game there was a lot of emotions Leading up to that game being in Orlando Again the stadium and the place that we Were in the second to last game of the The previous qualifying so it was a you Know definitely a full circle moment and You know in the build up to that game I I just wanted to win so bad that day I Felt like when you know we all knew that We were there to play and we were ready To win that day you know it was a time Where we could be proud of and we could Definitely be proud of that moment but We still had to go and and finish strong In the last one It was a strange one for sure because We're such competitors and and we want To win all the time you know at the end Of the day I think once we went into That locker room afterwards and Coach Comes in and Says you know he's proud and you know
Congrats you've qualified to go to the World Cup I think is when it first sunk In and you're there with your teammates And you want to be disappointed a little Bit because of you know the result but You did enough at the end of the day to Qualify and I I still do think that's Something to be you know incredibly Proud of so for sure you know a strange Feeling but I don't think too much about That loss at the end of the day Doubts no I think there were there were Tough moments but you know I think the First time around definitely helped me Understand that when you go and you play In some you know extremely difficult Conditions throughout concacaf there's Going to be moments where you feel like Everything is going against you and that Definitely happened again but you got to Stick together and stay as a team and You know I think we you know we got the Results that we needed to to put Ourselves in the right positions and Like I said before just control our own Destiny and continue to win games and Put points on the board and that's what We did so I never doubted that we that We could do it but there's there's Always moments that you have to overcome And and really tough tough times within This region and within this qualifying Process Playing in the World Cup
Would obviously mean everything for me You know knowing a lot of these guys for So long and being able to do it with Them you know by my side is is Definitely special and you know Hopefully a moment that we're gonna Cherish for the rest of our lives