Written by Will Parchman

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Borussia Dortmund is misleading.

All the tropes of a Big Club are there; the 85,000-seat stadium, always full. The world class players. The Champions League runs. The domestic cups. The global fan base. If you were new to the game, there’s nothing blatantly obvious, really, to separate BVB from, say, clubs like Manchester City, Juventus or even Real Madrid.

They are, of course, not like those clubs. Their budget is smaller, their mandate more constricted, their ultimate aims in player acquisition different. They trawl up coveted youth players for pennies, or, in Christian Pulisic’s case, for free. They’re willing to burn time pushing them up through their U19 apparatus in exchange for lower fees. They need to make big sales before they splash for big buys.

And, in the case of Ousmane Dembele, they use their multi-faceted scouting network to pull up transfers for teenagers at a fraction of the cost.

Dembele moved from Rennes in 2016 for $15 million. His latent value according to Transfermarkt more than doubled in the last year, which Dembele spent setting Europe to the torch. But latent value doesn’t mean much in the afterglow of Neymar’s $222 million move to PSG. Barcelona, now flush with cash everyone in the world can see spilling from their coffers, needs a replacement. Or two. And Dembele is on the list.

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Written by Will Parchman

pulisic

It’s been more than a month since Christian Pulisic’s titillated the American soccer public with form that somehow never seems to be anything but red hot. So, in this short-attention-span age of Pokemons and Skip-Its and Razor flip phones, he might as well have last played in the Mesozoic Age since we last saw him on the field in a USMNT kit in June.

Lest ye forget, Pulisic is still stupid good! A fact he was keen to remind us of on Tuesday.

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Written by Will Parchman

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Manny Schellscheidt was never a man given over to delirious spasms of hyperbole when it came to young prospects. He’d been doing this too long, had seen too many young players fall victim to a development process that can be hard to understand at best and viciously duplicitous at worst. Freddy Adu had once passed through his U.S. U14 ID camps, after all.

So when Schellscheidt first saw the young, diminutive kid embarrassing defenders one afternoon on a small field in Pennsylvania in 2011, there was little broader fanfare about it. Nobody knew who the kid was yet on any substantive level, and Schellscheidt had his reservations, although he knew the kid was special. The old coach stuck around a few days, noted the kid’s name in his notepad, talked to the club coaches on hand and then left assured of at least one thing in the absence of all else.

He would see Christian Pulisic play again. And this time he’d be running the camp.

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Written by Will Parchman

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Perhaps the most culturally important facet of Christian Pulisic’s breakout as a bonafide USMNT star is the suddenly blossoming reality that he’s a legitimate crossover personality. For a significant portion of the professional sports-watching populace on these here shores, soccer is a dormant sport, only to be poked awake every so often for major events and happenings.

The unearthing of an International Star certainly qualifies. And Pulisic is as close to one as we’ve had… perhaps ever.

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Written by Will Parchman

pulisic

This is a story about how the USMNT suddenly and desperately needs an 18-year-old to reach its zenith.

There is little question among even the most conservative U.S. fans now that Christian Pulisic is the side’s best player. He is, without reservation most nights, the team’s most dangerous sword in the darkness. Pulisic is rare in that his deployment rarely bookends his night. He’s coherent enough tactically to settle where the game leads him to settle, and that means a central deployment could lead to a wide night, if the service up the central channel isn’t there. As it wasn’t in the U.S.’s most recent qualifier against Trinidad & Tobago.

You can read games by the flavor of Pulisic’s movement, and no matter where he finds himself on the field, there’s often either a purpose to it or a reasonable expectation that it’ll genuinely lead to something more positive. He’s perhaps the only player on the team with this kind of leeway, and it’s more than deserved. You can understand the exact tenor of a game (and, really, the tactical character of a team) by simply watching one man.

And the U.S. needs him now more than it ever has.

Pulisic has, incredibly, been directly or, in one case, indirectly involved in each of the U.S.’s last eight goals stretching back into the guts of the 6-0 qualifying blowout against Honduras nearly three months ago. That includes, of course, a crucial 2-0 World Cup qualifying win over T&T that featured a pair of Pulisic goals to bring his international tally to seven in 15 games. He is 18, need I remind you, and you stomp your feet on the brakes of his train at your peril. Let go.

This is what reliance looks like.

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Written by Will Parchman

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We can get a bit carried away with Hype Trains here Stateside, but Christian Pulisic’s has been deemed Safe For Travelers for close to two years now.

His form in 2016-17 with Borussia Dortmund would seem to echo those claims in spades.

WhoScored, which charts stats on just about everything in leagues the world over, recently put together its teenage Best XI in the top five leagues in Europe this season to this point. Its player rating algorithm is fairly complex (it involves 200 raw stats), but it more or less charts a player’s influence on a game. Needless to say, younger players almost invariably have less influence – blame it on the precociousness of age – and so their player ratings averages are lower than veterans across the board. Nothing surprising there.

Still, anything in the high 6’s for an 18-year-old is worthy of praise. Ever think you’d see a Best XI like this with an American in it?

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Written by Will Parchman

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Borussia Dortmund does not want to sell Christian Pulisic. Presumably, Christian Pulisic does not want to be sold. How do we know this?

Christian Pulisic just signed an extension with BVB through 2020.

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Written by Will Parchman

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Christian Pulisic didn’t start Borussia Dortmund’s Champions League match against Real Madrid on Tuesday. But my goodness did he finish it.

Real Madrid looked unfazed as it descended into the bubbling cauldron of BVB’s Signal Iduna Park, taking a 2-1 lead late into the second half. Pulisic, the King of America, came on with about 20 minutes to go and didn’t waste much time in lassoing the game and pulling it back into Dortmund’s favor.

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Written by Will Parchman

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We’ve done enough Pulisic Hype Train promotion on this site over the last two years to leave those hyperbolic moments for another day. So, let’s just revel in another Christian Pulisic goal and leave the wider discussion in those placid, sheltered waters.

Pulisic is currently with BVB on their preseason tour of China, and they clashed with Manchester City in Shenzhen just outsize Hong Kong on Wednesday night. The match was one of those dour preseason affairs – bad field, laggardly fitness-building performances – but Pulisic graced us with yet another goal to stoke the train’s engine room.

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Written by Will Parchman

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When Henrikh Mkhitaryan joined Borussia Dortmund in 2013, you could hardly have found a player more suited to BVB. Flush with Champions League money and riding a Jurgen Klopp-sized wave, BVB threw a club record €27.5 million at the creative attacking midfielder from Shakhtar Donetsk.

In modern soccer parlance, BVB is essentially an intermediary between the Shakhtars and the Manchester Uniteds of the world. It provides a vital link between the clubs that pull promising wonderkids from their homes and the clubs that do no scouting and skim off the top of the rest of Europe. Shakhtar is the former. Manchester United is the latter.

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