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Against Bolivia on Sunday, the United States men's national team debuted a new captain at a major tournament in Christian Pulisic. The 25-year-old takes the responsibility from Tyler Adams who was the captain at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar and responded with a strong performance in a 2-0 victory.Β It only took three minutes for him to find the back of the net in Dallas with a curling effort as he takes charge of the leadership role, especially with Adams having dealt with injuries over the last season and a half.

But the goal isn't the only place where Pulisic took on a leadership role on the pitch. He was jawing at the referees when Bolivia were trying to slow the game down and went to console Ricardo Pepi when the young striker missed a chance near the end of the game. These are moments that show growth from Pulisic which manager Gregg Berhalter acknowledged.Β 

"He's a selfless leader. He goes out and competes and works, works really hard and that helps the team and then you add to the fact that he's highly skilled and can make plays on the offensive end and create chances on the offensive end," Berhalter said about Pulisic's performance. "It's a great combination, and what you see is him supporting his teammates, him backing guys, him pushing guys. To me, it was an outstanding performance tonight. He got coach's man of the match and it was much deserved."

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Pulisic wasn't always an outspoken leader but as he has now completed his 69th cap for the national team, the growth is showing. He takes responsibility for the team's performance following games and also ensures that he is leading by example on the pitch. As a Champions League winner coming off a strong season for Milan, Pulsic is in the form of his life at the best time for the USMNT.

To win a tournament like Copa America, game-changing talents need to be at their best and step up when it matters and Pulisic is doing just that. While it only means so much against Bolivia in the early going of the tournament, you can only play the teams in front of you. Pulisic will be judged by what he does against Panama, Uruguay and beyond. This is a great building block and the USMNT can play through Pulisic to good effect.Β 

There are areas to clean up but that's what watching film and training between games is for. The USMNT will have time to work on those but they won despite not being at their best due to the performance of their captain, which is a good sign.