KENYA BROWN - Monday, May 30, 2016
Goals from Gyasi Zardes, John Brooks and Christian Pulisic helped the United States to a comfortable win over Bolivia on Saturday in its final warm-up game before the Copa América Centenario.
After a lackluster win over Ecuador, in which the U.S. looked totally out of the game until some alterations in the second half, the team played much better and should have a bit of confidence going into their first group game against Colombia on June 3.
U.S. head coach Jurgen Klinsmann once again decided to change things up with the lineup as he placed Michael Orozco and Matt Besler in the right and left back positions. Geoff Cameron partnered with Brooks in central defense. Alejandro Bedoya got the start in midfield, while Bobby Wood started up top.
The U.S. scored their first goal of the game in the 26th minute when a chipped pass from Bedoya found Zardes and the LA Galaxy man one-timed his shot past Bolivian goalkeeper Guillermo Viscarra.
The score increased to 2-0 in the 37th minute when Michael Bradley caught the Bolivian side off guard with his free kick as he passed it to Bedoya on the right. The Nantes player sent his cross into the box where Brooks coolly slotted the ball into the empty goal.
The second half of the game would see several changes, with DeAndre Yedlin and Fabian Johnson coming in to replace Besler and Orozco on the wing back positions.
The U.S. maintained their momentum as Zardes scored his second on the day in the 52nd minute. Bradley's long ball pass from midfield would find would on the left. The newly-signed Hamburg forward was able to pull it back from the end line and cross it into the box where the LA Galaxy man was able to tap it in.
The U.S. scored their fourth goal of the game in the 69th minute, and it would be a special one, as Pulisic would go on to score the first of what hopefully will be many goals for the team. The 17-year-old, who replaced Zardes, linked up with Darlington Nagbe to put the finishing touch on the game as the Portland Timbers midfielder would play the ball through to him in the box and he put in his effort at the far post of the Bolivian goal.
With the warm-up games out of the way, the question will be who will Klinsmann put in the starting lineup on June 3 against Colombia to get their Copa América campaign off to a strong start.