United States 4, Bolivia 0 | International Friendly Match Recap
The preparations are over.
The United States national team finished off their Copa America Centenario warmups with a 4-0 victory against Bolivia on Saturday night in Kansas City as Gyasi Zardes scored twice, John Brooks added another and 17-year-old Christian Pulisic became the youngest goalscorer in USMNT history.
Alejandro Bedoya played assist man on the first two US goals, sending Zardes in behind with a deft flick over the top of the defense for a simple finish then sliding a ball across the six-yard box for Brooks to pass into the back of the net following an quickly taken free kick from Michael Bradley. Bobby Wood cracked the Bolivia defense by beating his man to the endline for the game's third goal, a simple cut back putting the ball on a platter for Zardes to bundle home.
Pulisic opened his USMNT account just six minutes after coming into the game in the second half. After Jermaine Jones won the ball in the attacking third, the Colorado Rapids man and Darlington Nagbe combined to create a first-time opportunity that the Borussia Dortmund man buried in the bottom corner. The USMNT open Copa American Centenario on June 3 against Colombia (9:30 pm ET, FS1).
- 26' - USA - Gyasi Zardes (Alejandro Bedoya)
- 37' - USA - John Brooks (Alejandro Bedoya, Michael Bradley)
- 52' - USA - Gyasi Zardes (Bobby Wood)
- 69' - USA - Christian Pulisic (Darlington Nagbe)
- Full box score
- HOLD YOUR HORSES: Winning matters – even an international friendly – but fans would be wise to remember the USMNT’s stroll in the park against Bolivia (79th in the FIFA Rankings) isn’t remotely indicative of what’s to come in Group A when Copa America Centenario kicks off next Friday.
Bolivia may have made it out of their Copa group last summer in Chile, but that required a single win and included a 5-0 thrashing at the hands of the hosts and eventual champions. More indicative of La Verde’s quality is the fact that they’ve won just four games – against Haiti, Ecuador and Venezuela twice – since the start of 2013.
So while it’s appropriate to appreciate the margin, the largest ever for the US against a CONMEBOL opponent, it’d also be prudent to remember this Bolivia team (40 percent possession, two shots on target) is nowhere close to the same level as Colombia, Costa Rica or Paraguay. Speaking of...
- IS THIS THE STARTING XI VS. COLOMBIA?: Matt Besler at left back? Michael Orozco over DeAndre Yedlin at right back? Before you let #soccertwitter get you too riled up about some vintage Klinsmann positional shoehorning, take a look at the XI that started the second half.
No Nagbe or Pulisic, but that's a team that could make the USMNT's stated semifinal goal a reality.
- CAMERON RETURNS, BROOKS SHINES: Outside back is set, but the two center back spots have been a bit of a guessing game as the US breezed past Puerto Rico, Ecuador and Bolivia. A big reason for that has been the absence of Geoff Cameron.
Cameron was back in the lineup on Saturday night, going the full 90 next to Brooks in what was a generally stress-free shutout. Brooks may have gotten the goal, but the veteran's recovery from a hamstring issue is the bigger story ahead of games that truly matter.
USA: Friday 6/3 vs. Colombia (9:30 pm ET, FS1, UniMás, UDN)