In their first Copa America warm-up match, the United States national team picked up a relatively easy 3-1 victory over Puerto Rico in Bayamón. Playing against the 152nd-best team in the world, Jurgen Klinsmann gave a number of young newcomers time on the field, and many impressed.
Paul Arriola, making his senior national team debut, finished with a goal and an assist, while Julian Green and Fafa Picault got on the field as substitutes.
The United States got on the board first with a Tim Ream goal in the 20th-minute. A long shot on goal was parried away by Puerto Rico keeper Matthew Sanchez and the rebound bounced to the defender Ream, who blasted a volley into the bottom corner for a 1-0 lead. Ream, who was not called up to the final Copa squad, scored his first international goal.
After another 15 minutes of endless US possession, the visitors put another goal past Sanchez courtesy of Bobby Wood. The newly signed Hamburg forward—who is likely to start up front when the Copa begins—coolly finished a breakaway after Arriola slipped him through.
Puerto Rico responded closer to the end of the first half, much to the delight of the local radio broadcasters. Forward Luis Betancur—currently playing for Florida International University—smashed a long-range volley into the top corner past a helpless Brad Guzan, putting the hosts on the scoresheet and Betancur on the highlight reel.
The US clinched a friendly win when Arriola tapped in a goal in the 56th-minute. Both teams came to a standstill after that, failing to challenge either goalkeeper much for the rest of the game.
Without most of their Copa America roster available for this game, Jurgen Klinsmann won’t be able to take much from this friendly. No MLS players were available due to club commitments while starters Fabian Johnson and Geoff Cameron were still coming to full fitness over in Europe before the pre-Copa camp begins.
Still, this was a good indicator of the US’s young talent, and a good opportunity for them to strut their stuff in front of Klinsmann.
After two more warm-up friendlies against Ecuador and Bolivia, the Yanks will begin their Copa America campaign on June 3rd against Colombia.