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Pulisic starts as USA reach Nations League final; McClelland, Gilmour make debuts

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Internationals in action

Honduras v USMNT Photo by John Dorton/ISI Photos/Getty Images

Fresh off his substitute appearance in last weekend’s Champions League final, wherein he became the first American footballer to play in a (men’s) Champions League final, and helped Chelsea lift the Big Ears trophy for the second time in club history, Christian Pulisic started and played 90+ minutes to help the US Men’s National Team reach the final of the inaugural CONCACAF Nations League tournament. (It’s like the UEFA Nations League thing, but you know, for North & Central America.)

It wasn’t exactly an impressive outing from the Americans — nor Pulisic individually — but Honduras don’t make it easy in classic CONCACAF style for anyone.

In the end, a sweet diving header from Jordan Siebatcheu, in his first competitive cap at age 25, was enough to win the game and reach Sunday’s final, where the USA will take on either Mexico or Costa Rica.

Siebatcheu was a teammate of Édouard Mendy’s at both Rennes and Reims, though he spent the past season on loan in the Swiss top division with Young Boys.

And speaking of young boys, this was the second youngest starting lineup for the USA in a competitive match, as they look to rebuild from the failures of 2018 for the 2022 World Cup.


Elsewhere, Chelsea Development Squad defender Sam McClelland made his senior international debut for Northern Ireland last night, as they lost to Ukraine, 1-0 in a friendly, playing the final handful of minutes. McClelland, 19, made 11 appearances in the PL2 this season, making the step up from the U18s, whom he captained regularly last season. Congrats, Sam!

And congratulations are also in order for Billy Gilmour, who made his Scotland debut earlier this week, in a friendly against the Netherlands. Scotland are heading to the European Championships, which starts next week, so hopefully Billy G will get a few competitive minutes as well.