The only thing surprising about the #FreePulisici hashtag trending on Twitter is that it has taken this long for it to become a thing. The internet, after all, is a place for strong opinions and strong love. Fans of Pulisic are understandably upset that one of the mainstays of the USMNT isn’t getting any playing time, especially in the lead-up to the World Cup. And the easiest answer seems to be to let him go to another team.
But that’s not happening. Instead, Pulisic is staying put at Chelsea, despite the fact that manager Thomas Tuchel doesn’t seem to have any faith in the player, who hasn’t started the last five straight Premier League games.
On paper, it makes sense. Tuchel might not love Pulisic or what he’s providing the team right now, but he is an option, and considering Kai Havertz and Mason Mount have started all five games for Chelsea this season and have yet to record a goal or an assist between them, Tuchel is better off with options than without them. Particularly considering the team is in a free fall and the team just isn’t scoring.
But for Pulisic, that’s a hard pill to swallow. He’s basically staying at Chelsea on the off-chance the team reaches a point where he, a player the manager doesn’t trust, looks better than the players he does. Plus, there’s the added World Cup ghost hanging over Pulisic. His USMNT is set to play in the tournament, which begins November 20th, and as much as Pulisic might be practicing, it’s not the same to go into the World Cup after getting regular competitive play as it is to go after getting a few minutes a game.
And – a few minutes out of position too, because when Pulisic has gotten to play, he’s had to adapt to the team already on the field. Granted, he didn’t look particularly great in his last game, but that’s exactly the point – how can he without any sort of consistency?
For Christian Pulisic, the hashtag #FreePulisic makes sense. The USMNT would also agree, as they’d like their top player to get into a rhythm before the World Cup if they’re going to have any chance at a good showing. But for Chelsea? Sadly, it makes no sense whatsoever to #FreePulisic, when the team – despite Tuchel – might end up needing him.