American Standout Christian Pulisic Scored His First Goal For Chelsea (UPDATE)

Christian Pulisic has had some serious ups and downs since his highly-publicized move to Chelsea. The most expensive American footballer of all time has had some nice moments for the Premier League side, but they’ve been relatively few and far between, as he’s struggled to consistently get playing time. When he has played, it has usually been as a substitute.

But following a promising cameo during Chelsea’s mid-week Champions League match against Ajax, one that included him picking up his team-high fifth assist across all competitions, Pulisic earned a start on Saturday against Burnley. Chelsea manager Frank Lampard’s faith in the 21-year-old American was rewarded in the 21st minute, when Pulisic bagged his first goal for his new club.

Pulisic pounced on a sloppy touch by Burnley defender Matthew Lowton right around midfield. He drove the ball up the pitch, getting to the edge of the box and unleashing a wicked stepover to free up some space. Using his weaker left foot, Pulisic tried for goal and beat Burnley keeper Nick Pope.

Right before the half, Pulisic was able to score again. He once more dribbled into the box and got the ball onto his preferred right foot, and thanks in part to a deflection off of Burnley captain Ben Mee, Pulisic doubled Chelsea’s lead.

You can tell by his to reaction to the first goal that this meant a whole lot to the usually stoic Pulisic. While it’s hardly uncommon for young players who bounce from one league to the next to need some time to get settled in at their new club, Pulisic carries the burden of being one of the most expensive transfers in the sport’s history and the expectations of replacing one of the best players to ever don a Chelsea shirt, Eden Hazard. As such, his inability to get on the field at times has made headlines.

Pulisic’s talent is undeniable, though, and when he is locked in, his first goal is a good representation of how he can make his influence felt on a match — he’s quick to pounce on mistakes by opponents, has quite the collection of 1-on-1 moves that he can use to beat defenders, and finds ways to get involved in goals, whether he’s setting them up or scoring them on his own. He’s hardly a finished product, and he’s there’s no guarantees that this leads to him becoming an everyday starter for Chelsea, but Saturday’s goals marked major milestones in his footballing career in England.

UPDATE: He scored again.

For those keeping track at home, Pulisic scored with both feet and his head today, recorded his first career hat trick, and joined Clint Dempsey as the only Americans to ever score a hat trick in the Premier League. Not a bad day at the office from the precocious Pennsylvanian.