Borussia Dortmund starlet Christian Pulisic may have to settle for a place on the bench in Saturday's Copa America Centenario third-place play-off between the USMNT and Colombia at the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona (kick-off: 20:00ET/02:00CET+1day).
Fans are clamouring to see more of the 17-year-old sensation following some impressive cameos as a substitute, but U.S. head coach Jürgen Klinsmann believes a softly-softly approach will be of more benefit to the Hershey-born midfielder in the long run.
"You don't want to burn a Christian Pulisic right now against these top teams from the beginning," Klinsmann explained after the USMNT’s final training session ahead of the game. "They're very physical and they're very intimidating. This is another level that we're talking here. So when you bring players on from the beginning, you need to make sure that they have the confidence to deal with that situation. And I think right now, here and there coming off the bench and getting experience is the right thing to do. It's a learning curve."
Soon-to-be Hamburger SV striker Bobby Wood has learned his lesson after missing the 4-0 semi-final defeat to Argentina through suspension and should start, but Borussia Mönchengladbach wide man Fabian Johnson and Hertha Berlin defensive stalwart John Anthony Brooks - the tournament’s standout performer so far - are both doubtful due to injury.