Christian Pulisic hurts ankle in US qualifier at Honduras

SAN PEDRO SULA, Honduras (AP) — Christian Pulisic injured his left ankle in the United States’ 4-1 World Cup qualifier win over Honduras, yet another setback for the 22-year-old Chelsea attacker.

Pulisic was to take a charter flight with U.S. players to London after Wednesday night’s game, and his ankle was to be evaluated by Chelsea.

“Christian has a slight ankle injury,” American coach Gregg Berhalter said. “We’re going to get more info on it when he goes back to London, and we’re not sure the severity of it now.”

After playing a part in the leadup to Antonee Robinson’s 48th-minute equalizer, Pulisic dribbled past Deybi Flores and into the penalty area in the 57th minute and tumbled over Maynor Figueroa, a former Wigan and Hull defender now with Houston.

Pulisic somersaulted off both hands and landed hard. His left leg appeared to take most of the brunt.

Staff came out and spent about two minutes treating Pulisic, who was hobbling as he came off.

He did some test jogs, still limping, but nodded that he could remain in the game and re-entered, though he clearly was laboring.

Kellyn Acosta played a pass along a flank to Pulisic in the 61st, and Pulisic kicked the ball off José Garcia and out of bounds, then collapsed in a heap. Pulisic was replaced a minute later by Cristian Roldan.

Pulisic, the first American to play in and win a Champions League final, was playing just his fourth match of the season.

After appearing for Chelsea in the European SuperCup against Villarreal on Aug. 11 and scoring in Chelsea’s Premier League opener against Crystal Palace three days later, he tested positive for COVID-19. Pulisic, who had been vaccinated, said he was not feeling symptoms.

While quarantining, he missed games against Arsenal and Liverpool. He then traveled to Nashville, Tennessee, to meet up with U.S. teammates. He did not travel to El Salvador for the qualifying opener last week, then started Saturday’s 0-0 home draw against Canada and the match at Honduras.

The Hershey, Pennsylvania, native is in his third season with Chelsea after four seasons with Borussia Dortmund. He scored six goals in 43 appearances in all competitions for the Blues last season after scoring 11 over 34 matches in 2019-20.

Chelsea is at Aston Villa on Saturday.

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