Borussia Dortmund lost 1-0 to Benfica in Lisbon, Portugal two weeks ago, necessitating a strong performance today in the second leg of their Round of 16 Champions League tie to advance. They needn’t worry, because the wonderteen was there.
Dortmund scored the leveler in just the fourth minute, on a Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang header. He was assisted by 18-year-old American attacking midfielder Christian Pulisic, who flicked a corner to the unmarked Aubameyang on the far post.
Dortmund relentlessly attacked for the rest of the half—Pulisic wasn’t far off from setting up two more goals—but couldn’t convert. So in the second half Pulisic decided to do it himself, scoring the goal that would ultimately see Dortmund through to the quarterfinals with a lovely chip over Benfica keeper Ederson.
Starting for an injured Marco Reus, preferred to André Schürrle and Shinji Kagawa, and playing in the biggest match of his life, Pulisic submitted the best performance of his life. Alongside Aubameyang he was a step or two better than every other player on the pitch, and his goal made him just the seventh American to ever score in the Champions League (and I believe the first-ever to score in the knockout rounds, but don’t quote me).
We said it back in September, but it bares repeating. Christian Pulisic isn’t the future. For both Borussia Dortmund and the United States Men’s National Team, he is the immediate present.
Correction: This post originally stated that Pulisic assisted Aubameyang’s third goal. It was actually the very similar looking (to the point of confusing the Fox announces) Eric Durm.