The U.S. got its World Cup Qualifying campaign back on track in emphatic fashion, routing Panama, 4-0, at Orlando City Stadium.
It was Pulisic who set the tone early, going right at Panama's normally stingy defense from the start, with his speed and confident dribbling tearing through opposing defenders easily. Wood won the header near midfield, directing the ball ahead to Altidore. The top three teams get the region's automatic berths. Altidore added another goal from the penalty spot, followed by a Bobby Wood insurance goal in the second half. Paul Arriola was especially effective on the night playing on the right wing, where presumably Fabian Johnson would have played if Bruce Arena hadn't chosen to leave him out. And if the US excels in Russia, Pulisic will be why, too.
Away games in the Hex are always a grind, played in some rather trying climates in front of passionate fans. "It was a really good team performance". The U.S.is plus-five to minus-two for Panama and minus-seven for Honduras.
Pulisic, who was deployed in a more central role, cut through Panama's defence and rounded Penedo before coolly finishing from an acute angle, his eighth worldwide goal in 19 matches. This time we gave them space and that was the error. We're not depending on other teams to win games to help us.
'It's to be expected in CONCACAF, ' Pulisic said. "We have had a great year despite what people think".
Not that losing the creative hub of the team denied the USA their scoring ability. USA fans are hoping for a similar outing in Tuesday's match.
Eight goals in Johnson's first eight US appearances set the American soccer world alight back in 2004 and 2005, yet he never really came close to replicating that on any consistent basis. The Canaleros were simply overwhelmed by the speed, passing and movement from the entire American attack, not just Pulisic.
Heading into his first global match since turning 19 in September, Pulisic has developed into the top American player since making his debut in the Bundesliga in January 2016.
Pulisic broke free out wide and rolled an inch-perfect delivery across the six-yard box and straight to Altidore at the back post for a simple side-footed finish.
If you can't make the game, it will be televised nationally on ESPN2.
"Everybody left the last camp with a sour taste, but we knew how important that goal was that we got against Honduras", Bedoya said. "He did what he wanted". He has now been directly involved in eight of the U.S.'s 15 goals in the nine games of the Hexagonal so far.
He's already scored the equalizing goal against Real Madrid in a UEFA Champions League game and passing more milestones already seems inevitable.
"I was very confident in this group", USA coach Bruce Arena said, before adding a not-so-subtle dig at his predecessor. He's the best player on the team not only because of what he does as an individual, but because he makes his teammates better.
But the way the US played, the way the attack thrummed, the defense steadied and the ball was pinged around with pace, speed and urgency made it possible to see the promise of something better.
They likely will need a win against the Panamanians followed by a victory or a draw Tuesday at Trinidad and Tobago.
In the days before the U.S.'s tension-soothing 4-0 World Cup qualifying blowout of Panama on Friday, the players went through what Jozy Altidore called some of the most detailed preparations he had ever encountered in his national team career to ready a gameplan that would attack Panama mercilessly from the opening whistle.