Christian Pulisic makes Champions League history as first USMNT player to appear in final

Pennsylvania native Christian Pulisic made history as the first USMNT player to appear on the biggest stage in club soccer: the UEFA Champions League final, which crowns the best team in Europe.

The 22-year-old U.S. national team star came off the bench in the second half of the match against Manchester City at the Estadio do Dragao in Porto, Portugal.

WATCH: Champions League final streaming on fuboTV (free 7-day trial)

Pulisic didn’t start the match; he has been in and out of the starting lineup since German manager Thomas Tuchel took over for Frank Lampard in January (13 starts in 25 matches). He came on in the 66th minute for forward Timo Werner.

He will look to add to his six goals and four assists in the 42 appearances he has made for Chelsea across all competitions this season.

Why it matters that Pulisic is playing

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No USMNT player on the men’s side had ever set foot in the UEFA Champions League final before. The fact that Pulisic is playing in such a big game is a sign that U.S. soccer can now produce elite players who can match up against the very best in the world.

Pulisic is on his way to becoming the best male American player in the history of the American game. He’s already the most expensive U.S. player ever, after Chelsea forked over $73 million to sign him from German club Borussia Dortmund in 2019. He was only 20 years old at the time.

MORE: Could Champions League final vault Pulisic into crossover star status?

He’s the biggest U.S. men’s soccer star today, accumulating 36 appearances and 15 goals for the U.S. men’s national team. He’ll be a major contributor if the USMNT are to advance to the 2022 FIFA World Cup next year in Qatar.

In the UEFA Champions League final, Pulisic is facing his teammate on the U.S. national team, Zack Steffen, backup goalkeeper for Manchester City. One of the two will raise the trophy in Portugal. It will go down as the biggest club achievement by an American male soccer player.

There is only one American who has ever won a UEFA Champions League medal: former U.S. national teamer Jovan Kirovski, who earned it playing in the group stage for Borussia Dortmund back in 1997. Nine American women have featured in the UEFA Champions League final.

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