Christian Pulisic is back, but Gio Reyna shines brightest for USMNT contingent in Chelsea's Champions League win vs Dortmund

Gio Reyna smile Dortmund Chelsea
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Christian Pulisic is finally back as the U.S. men's national team star came on as a substitute in Chelsea's Champions League win over Dortmund.
  • Reyna entered in first 10 minutes
  • Pulisic a late sub
  • Chelsea win 2-1 on aggregate

WHAT HAPPENED? Pulisic had been out of action since January 5, when he suffered a knee injury in Chelsea's match against Manchester City. Graham Potter said before Tuesday's match that Pulisic would be available, and he was eligible for selection off the bench as a substitute. He ended up coming on after 83 minutes to replace Mateo Kovacic and helped Chelsea hold on after goals from Raheem Sterling and Kai Havertz.

But it was Pulisic's USMNT teammate, Gio Reyna, who shined brightest among the Americans after coming on for the first time in five matches. He replaced Julian Brandt in the fourth minute due to an early injury to the German midfielder, and he was active throughout his appearance, winning a foul in a dangerous area that nearly led to a Marco Reus free-kick goal and causing problems when he floated down the wing.

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Christian Pulisic dribble at Gio Reyna Chelsea Dortmund 2022-23

THE BIGGER PICTURE: The return of Pulisic has massive implications for both the USMNT and Chelsea, the latter of which has been dealing with something of an injury crisis. The Blues have struggled mightily in recent weeks, leaving them 10th in the Premier League with little hope of a top-four finish. Therefore, their best hope at returning to the Champions League next season may just be to win the whole thing, which they still could do after booking their spot in the quarter-final round.

Meanwhile, Reyna will hope his positive performance leads to more playing time during the final stretch of the season.

WHAT NEXT FOR THE USMNT? While the Champions League took center stage on Tuesday, both Reyna and Pulisic will have one eye on the national team, which will gather later this month for the return of the Nations League.

This Saturday, though, Chelsea will face Leicester City while Dortmund will travel for a huge match against longtime rivals Schalke.