United States’ Christian Pulisic becomes youngest captain in national team history

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Christian Pulisic became the youngest captain in the modern history of the U.S. soccer program when the 20-year-old was handed the captain’s armband for a friendly against Italy in Genk, Belgium.

At 20 years, 63 days, Pulisic beat Landon Donovan, who was 22 years, 220 days when he first captained the Americans in a World Cup qualifier at El Salvador on Oct. 9, 2004, a match regular captain Claudio Reyna missed because of a quadriceps injury.

Nine of the 11 starters on Tuesday night were 23 or younger, and the lineup’s average age of 22 years, 71 days set a record, besting the 22-160 against Bolivia on May 28.

Ethan Horvath took over from goalkeeper Brad Guzan, his first international appearance since January’s friendly against Bosnia-Herzegovina, a 0-0 draw.

Pulisic was pushed up from his usual midfield spot to forward and paired with 18-year-old Josh Sargent. Pulisic was on a midfield flank last week during the 3-0 loss at England.

Midfielder Romain Gall was on the bench and had a chance to become the 23rd player to debut in 11 matches under interim coach Dave Sarachan. Goalkeeper Jonathan Klinsmann and defenders John Brooks and DeAndre Yedlin were not dressed, though all three are healthy.

The U.S. entered with one win and three draws in 11 matches against Italy, winning 1-0 at Genoa on Feb. 29, 2012, as Clint Dempsey scored.

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