USMNT’s Christian Pulisic tests positive for COVID-19, to miss Chelsea match vs. Arsenal

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U.S. national team star Christian Pulisic will be forced to sit out Chelsea’s English Premier League match on Sunday against Arsenal after he tested positive for COVID-19.

Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel confirmed the news and Pulisic posted about the positive test on Instagram, confirming he’s fully vaccinated:

“Unfortunately I tested positive for COVID-19 earlier this week. Thankfully I’m fully vaccinated and I have no symptoms so far. Can’t wait to get back in action! Thank you for your support”

Tuchel said that Pulisic did not train on Wednesday and will have to follow the protocols, which call for 10 days of self-isolation. That timeline would see him rejoining the team on Saturday, Aug. 28, which is the same day that Chelsea will face Liverpool in the third game of the English Premier League season.

DeCOURCY: What Lukaku’s arrival at Chelsea means for Pulisic

That Liverpool match is also Chelsea’s final game before a break for World Cup qualifiers at the start of September. Chelsea’s next competitive match after the break comes on Sept. 11 at home against Aston Villa. 

Pulisic had a strong start to the new season with Chelsea, scoring in the opening match against Crystal Palace. It was an important goal given the competition in attacking spots at Chelsea. New big-money signing Romelu Lukaku is expected to make his debut against Arsenal and Hakim Ziyech, Mason Mount, Kai Havertz and Timo Werner should all be available to play.

Will Pulisic play for the USMNT?

Although it’s not yet confirmed, the 22-year-old U.S. national team star should be able to join U.S. camp when the USMNT opens its 2022 World Cup qualifying campaign in September. U.S. camp will kick off on Monday, Aug. 30 in Nashville. It would mark Pulisic’s return to the USMNT after captaining the team to victory in the inaugural CONCACAF Nations League in June. 

Per U.S. Soccer, all members of an assigned delegation are required to have a negative test and be asymptomatic before joining camp.

MORE: Schedule & standings for CONCACAF World Cup qualifying

The USA will play its first three matches of 14 total qualifiers that will determine the region’s three automatic berths to the 2022 Qatar FIFA World Cup: at El Salvador (Sept. 2), vs. Canada (Sept. 5) and at Honduras (Sept. 8).

Pulisic was part of the USMNT that failed to qualify for the last FIFA World Cup in 2018 and he was on the field for the shocking 2-1 defeat to Trinidad and Tobago in October 2017 which cost the team a spot in the World Cup for the first time since 1986.

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