U.S.'s Christian Pulisic 'not going to change' style in face of multiple fouls
ORLANDO, Fla. -- U.S. international midfielder Christian Pulisic has vowed not to change his style ahead of Friday's World Cup qualifier, even in the face of persistent fouling by opponents.
Since Bruce Arena took over as manager late last year, Pulisic has been the most-fouled U.S. player in World Cup qualifying, suffering 14 in six games while many others have gone unsanctioned by the referee.
But Pulisic insists he will continue to go right at opponents, no matter the physical contact.
"I'm going to continue to be the same attacking style that I've always been," he said. "I'm not going to change it because of how other teams are treating me."
Panama dished out plenty of physical contact when the two teams met last March, in which the U.S. secured a 1-1 draw in Panama City. As such, the 19-year-old says he knows exactly what to expect from the Canaleros on Friday, as well as other CONCACAF sides.
"It's to be expected in CONCACAF, these teams aren't going to give it to us easy," he said. "We've got to be ready for [physical play], they're going to come in hard, they're going to be the same tomorrow I'm sure, and we're just going to have to be ready and respond to it."
The U.S. finds itself in what amounts to a must-win situation, given that Panama currently is a point ahead of the Americans in the standings and occupies the third and final automatic qualification spot in CONCACAF.
"We understand what's at stake," Pulisic said, "but we've been in similar positions before, and we're going to give everything to try and win."
Jeff Carlisle covers MLS and the U.S. national team for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter @JeffreyCarlisle.