Christian Pulisic on the United States bench in record-breaking World Cup qualifying
Christian Pulisic was not in the starting XI as United States coach Gregg Berhalter changed seven starters for Wednesday night’s World Cup playoff against Honduras in chilly St. Paul, Minnesota, where the temperature at kickoff was 5 degrees Fahrenheit.
A wind chill of around minus-14 was forecast.
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 win over Costa Rica in Commerce City, Colorado in March 2013 and the 1-0 win over El Salvador at lower.com 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 entered the starting line-up. The survivors were goalkeeper Matt Turner, defender Miles Robinson, left-back Antonee Robinson and midfielder Weston McKennie.
Pulisic, America’s best player, had lackluster performances in the 1-0 win over El Salvador and the 2-0 loss to Canada. The Americans, who could benefit greatly from a victory over Honduras, are second in the CONCACAF World Cup qualifying table with 18 points, four behind Canada and ahead of their Mexican rivals on goal difference.
Midfielder Tyler Adams and defender Chris Richards were injured in Sunday’s loss. Right-back Sergino Dest, midfielders Yunus Musah and Brenden Aaronson and striker Gyasi Zardes moved to the bench with Pulisic.
Under U.S. Soccer Federation cold weather guidelines, the area fell into the black zone, referred to as “extreme conditions.” Federation guidelines recommend: “Cancel or attempt to move activities indoors. Frostbite may occur.”
The USSF provided the company’s team compression jerseys and tights that supply the Minnesota Vikings and Chicago Bears, as well as Nike Hypertherm headgear and gloves, hand warmers, insoles and a quarterback pocket for goalies, also provided by the Vikings.
There were heated vests for potential substitutes, a heated bench and seat warmers, as well as overhead heat and topical heating cream as well as hot air pumped to the feet.
The USSF provided thermal headgear to Honduras and also provided match officials with thermal underwear and headgear.
Berhalter, who helped choose the venue, said shortened travel during FIFA’s three-game window and the guarantee of a pro-American crowd were the main factors. He repeated several times that the weather presented no obstacle and that his players should accept the conditions.
FIFA did not respond to a request for comment on Wednesday. Asked about the venue after the predictions were released, the governing body said on January 20: “While the safety and security of everyone involved in football will always be FIFA’s priority, major club competitions and national teams play out in different climates in all confederations and the FIFA World Cup qualifiers are no exception.”
Nicholas Noble, spokesperson for CONCACAF, the governing body for North and Central America and the Caribbean, said in September: “The World Cup qualifiers are a FIFA competition. CONCACAF does not manage nor does it run these matches, FIFA does, along with the individual federations.”
De la Torre was making his first international start and fifth appearance, and Cannon his first qualifying start. Morris, returning from a torn ACL, made his second qualifying start and his first since September 5, 2017 in Honduras.