Watch: Christian Pulisic scored a Hat Trick as the U.S. Men's National Team beat Panama.
Watch: Christian Pulisic scored a Hat Trick as the U.S. Men's National Team beat Panama.

Watch: Christian Pulisic scored a Hat Trick as the U.S. Men’s National Team beat Panama.

The Chelsea striker scored three goals as the United States edged closer to a place in Qatar.

Christian Pulisic scored his first hat-trick for the USMNT against Panama on Sunday night with the U.S. men’s national team captain’s third goal particularly stunning in the win.

Pulisic demonstrated a beautiful first touch and a silky second touch for his third goal, nutmegging a defender before scoring another crucial goal for the US as they moved closer to the World Cup in Qatar.

Watch: Pulisic’s Hat Trick


Pulisic post-match interview.

“Obviously a huge result,” the winger said after the match. “We needed the three points bad to put us in a really good spot to qualify and we’re really happy with the performance.

“It feels great to get a hat trick, of course, my first one with the national team, but more importantly just to help the team to win and put us in a good spot with one game left.

“Absolutely we can enjoy tonight, but the job’s not done yet. We have one more really important game and we’re taking it very seriously. We need to go in and get the job done.”

The USMNT’s head coach explains why Pulisic was named captain for the match.

Pulisic was given the captain’s armband on Sunday, as the U.S. has had a leadership committee rotate captain responsibilities throughout World Cup qualifying.

Pulisic was named the captain for this game on purpose, according to USMNT coach Gregg Berhalter, as he wanted to emphasize how far the winger has progressed since he was a member of the side that missed out on the World Cup four years ago.

“Anyone in the leadership group can be captain on game night and the coaching staff talked about it and decided on Christian, I think, because of the journey,” Berhalter said.

“You have a guy that’s been there before. He was on the field when we didn’t qualify and this was a saying to him that this is a new group, this is a new team and you’re a leader.

“We want to show that and we want to highlight that. I think when I look at his performance, besides the three goals and the hat-trick, I think everything else was in line. Everything else was exactly what we needed him to do in terms of his work rate, his effort, his energy, his intensity, and his leadership.”