The team won its first friendly match against Puerto Rico, three goals to 1.
After surprising some soccer fans a few days ago, with his 23 men roster for the Copa America Centenario, it seems that Jurgen Klinsmann might actually have an ace under his sleeve. Last Sunday, May 22, the U.S. Soccer NMT, easily defeated Puerto Rico in a friendly match, as a warm up for the upcoming tournament.
Around a week ago, USMNT’s coach, Jurgen Klinsmann shocked many, with some unexpected choices for his squad that will be playing in next month’s Copa America Centenario. He left behind NYCFC’s star, Mix Diskerud and Seattle Sounders forward Jordan Morris. He also left, an experienced goal keeper such as Tim Howard as the second choice, behind Aston Villa’s keeper Brad Guzan.
Since he took charge of the NMT, Klinsmann has built a reputation of making unpopular decisions when it comes to the squad selection, probably his most notable controversy, was pulling out, legendary scorer and team captain, Landon Donovan. Nonetheless, the first friendly match before the tournament endorsed his picks as young debutant Paul Arriola scored the third and final goal for the 3-1 win over Puerto Rico.
Tim Ream and Bobby Wood scored the first to goals for USMNT during the first half of the match. Just before the break, Puerto Rico’s Luis Betancur hit a stunner, narrowing the lead to 2-1. During the second half, USNMT took control of the actions and dictated the rhythm of the rest of the match. Around 11 minutes after the second half began, Paul Arriola received the ball from midfielder Alejandro Bedoya, who kicked a low cross to the second post where Arriola just tapped it in.
About The Copa America Centenario
The Copa America Centenario has a significant historic importance, especially for the US. To begin with, it is the first time that the tournament will host six teams from CONCACAF, (the football confederation for North and Central America and the Caribbean), plus the traditional ten teams from CONMEBOL (the South American football confederation). So, instead of twelve teams, this special edition will feature sixteen teams, in a celebration of the centenary of CONMEBOL and the Copa América.
The 2016 Centennial Cup, is also to be the first Copa América hosted outside South America since its inception in 1916. The honor of hosting the 45th edition of the tournament will be in hands of the United States, therefore, it is of great importance for the USMNT to have a good performance.
The team’s next friendly match is against Ecuador, on Wednesday, May 25, at the Toyota Stadium in Frisco, Texas.