Christian Pulisic on the bench for United States in record cold World Cup qualifier

Christian Pulisic was out of the starting XI when US coach Gregg Berhalter switched seven starters for Wednesday night’s World Cup qualifier against Honduras in chilly St. Paul, Minnesota, where the temperature was 5 degrees Fahrenheit at kick-off.

A wind chill of about minus-14 was predicted.

The previous low for a US home game was 29 degrees in a win over Mexico at the old Columbus Crew Stadium in February 2001, the Snow Clasico’s win over Costa Rica in Commerce City, Colorado in March 2013, and the 1-0 win on El Salvador at Field in Columbus last Thursday.

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Right-back Reggie Cannon, centre-back Walker Zimmerman, midfielders Kellyn Acosta, Jordan Morris, Luca de la Torre and Timothy Weah and striker Ricardo Pepi made the starting line-up. The remaining players were goalkeeper Matt Turner, defender Miles Robinson, left-back Antonee Robinson and midfielder Weston McKennie.

Pulisic, the best player in the US, underperformed in the 1-0 win over El Salvador and the 2-0 loss at Canada. The Americans, who could really use a win against Honduras, are second in the qualifying table for the CONCACAF World Cup with 18 points, four behind Canada and ahead of rivals Mexico on goal difference.

Midfielder Tyler Adams and defender Chris Richards were injured in Sunday’s defeat. On the bench along with Pulisic were right-back Sergino Dest, midfielders Yunus Musah and Brenden Aaronson and forward Gyasi Zardes.

According to the U.S. Football Federation’s cold weather guidelines, the area fell into the black zone, which is called “extreme conditions.” The federation guidelines recommend, “Cancel or try to move activities indoors. Freezing may occur.”

The USSF supplied the team compression shirts and tights from the company that supplies the Minnesota Vikings and Chicago Bears, along with Nike Hypertherm headgear and gloves, hand warmers, insole warmers and a goalkeeper quarterback bag, also supplied by the Vikings.

There were heated vests for potential replacements, a heated bench and seat warmers plus overhead heating and topical heating cream, along with hot air pumped in at feet height.

The USSF supplied thermal headgear to Honduras and also gave the match officials thermal underwear and headgear.

Berhalter, who helped choose the site, said shorter trips during FIFA’s three-game window and ensuring a pro-American audience were the key factors. He has repeatedly said that the weather was not an obstacle and that his players should embrace the circumstances.

FIFA did not respond to a request for comment on Wednesday. Asked about the location after the prediction was released, the governing body said on January 20: “While the safety and security of all individuals involved in football will always be FIFA’s priority, major leagues of clubs and national teams in played in different climates. in all confederations and the FIFA World Cup qualifiers are no exception.”

Nicholas Noble, spokesman for CONCACAF, the governing body of the Americas and the Caribbean, said in September: “World Cup qualifiers are a FIFA competition. CONCACAF does not control or direct these matches, FIFA does, together with the individual federations.”

De la Torre made his first international start and fifth appearance, and Cannon made his first qualifying start. Morris, returning from a torn ACL, made his second qualifying start and first since September 5, 2017 in Honduras.


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