USA Begins Copa America Preparations with 3-1 Win vs. Puerto Rico – U.S. Soccer (press release) (registration) (blog)

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BAYAMÓN, Puerto Rico (May 22, 2016) – The U.S. Men’s National Team eased to 3-1 win against Puerto Rico thanks to goals from Tim Ream, Bobby Wood and senior team debutant Paul Arriola in its first warm-up match ahead of the upcoming Copa America Centenario [TICKETS].

The USA jumped out to a 2-0 lead on the strength of Ream’s first international goal for the USA and Bobby Wood’s fifth strike for his country, a goal that turned out to be the game winner as Puerto Rico’s Luis Betancur hit a stunner just before the break to narrow the lead to 2-1.

After Puerto Rico went close to equalizing to open the second 45 minutes, Arriola added the final goal for the U.S., tapping in a pass from Alejandro Bedoya, who wore the captain’s armband for the first time. As the half wore on, U.S. MNT head coach Jurgen Klinsmann used the full complement of his six substitutions, bringing on forward Fabrice Picault for his international debut. Picault and fellow second- half sub Emerson Hyndman both went close to scoring as the USA finished with a flurry of chances in the comfortable win.

The MNT continues preparations for this summer’s Copa America Centenario on Wed., May 25 when it meets South American foe Ecuador at Toyota Stadium in Frisco, Texas at 7 p.m. CT with the game broadcast on ESPN2, UniMas and UDN [TICKETS].

Goal Scoring Rundown:
USA – Tim Ream, 20th minute:
After some good hold-up play, Bobby Wood found Alfredo Morales just outside the Puerto Rico area and the Ingolstadt midfielder rifled a long-range effort toward the top right corner of the goal. Puerto Rico goalkeeper Matthew Sanchez did well to make the initial save, but the rebound fell to Ream who snapped a cool, left-footed half volley into the far side netting for his first international goal. USA 1, PUR 0 (SEE GOAL)

USA – Bobby Wood (Paul Arriola), 34th minute: After end-to-end action, the USA was able to hit Puerto Rico on the break with Arriola sending Wood through on goal after a nifty run. With defenders converging and Puerto Rico’s ‘keeper rushing out of the net, the newly unveiled Hamburg striker kept his cool to lift a deft chip over Sanchez and into the back of the net to give the USA a two-goal advantage. USA 2, PUR 0 (SEE GOAL)

PUR – Luis Betancur (Joseph Marrero), 42nd minute: As the first half neared its close, Puerto Rico got on the board through a stunning strike by Florida International University attacker Luis Betancur. A U.S. turnover was sent to Joseph Marrero in the central channel and the Puerto Rico midfielder one-timed a pass into the path of Betancur, who was able to get the ball out of his feet and hit a half volley from distance the dipped under the cross bar into the top left corner. USA 2, PUR 1 (SEE GOAL)

USA – Paul Arriola (Alejandro Bedoya), 56th minute: Bedoya latched on to a great pass from near the midfield stripe that sent him into the Puerto Rico box, where he was able to outpace his defender and send a low cross past the onrushing ‘keeper to the back post where Arriola tapped the ball into the roof of the net for his first goal in his first senior team cap. USA 3, PUR 1 (SEE GOAL) FINAL

Key Saves and Defensive Stops:
USA – Tim Howard, 73rd minute: Puerto Rico gained control of the ball in the midfield and moved it to Emanuel Sanchez who sent a long, low drive along the ground from 25 yards out toward the bottom right corner of Tim Howard’s goal, but the veteran U.S. ‘keeper got down to smother the shot.

PUR – Sanchez, 77th minute: Second half  sub Julian Green worked his way free in the Puerto Rico area and sent a point blank shot from close range right at Sanchez, who parried it up in the air then tracked its flight and punched clear.

PUR – Matthew Sanchez, 82nd minute: The Puerto Rico gloveman was repeatedly called into action as a U.S. flurry saw the visitors put three close range shots on target. Sanchez displayed strength to deny a blast from Fabrice Picault, acrobatics to keep out an Emerson Hyndman drive and courage to rush out to meet an on rushing Paul Arriola.

Next on the Schedule: The MNT hosts Ecuador in an international friendly at Toyota Stadium in Frisco, Texas on Wednesday, May 25 (7 p.m. CT; ESPN2, UniMas, UDN) [TICKETS]. The MNT is 2-4-5 all-time vs. Ecuador on home soil, but holds an unbeaten 2-0-1 record at Toyota stadium.
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Milestone Watch:

  • Former U.S. youth international Paul Arriola scored his first goal for the senior MNT in his first cap. The Club Tijuana midfielder also logged his first assist, providing the final pass on Bobby Wood’s game winner.
  • In addition to Arriola, 25-year-old forward Fabrice Picault also received his first cap for the U.S., playing 20 minutes in the second half as a sub for Wood.
  • Tim Ream scored his first international goal in his 21st cap for his country.

Additional Notes:

  • Bobby Wood’s goal was his fifth in 17 caps for the USA. After becoming the single-season highest scoring American in either of Germany’s top two divisions with 17 goals for 2. Bundesliga’s Union Berlin, Wood secured a move to German Bundesliga side Hamburg.
  • Alejandro Bedoya wore the captain’s armband for the first time for either club or country. The Nantes midfielder has collected 46 caps and two goals for the Senior Team.
  • Hertha Berlin defender John Brooks made his return to the USA lineup for the first time since Sept. 4, 2015, against Peru. Injuries prevented him from participating in National Team duty while he became a regular starter for Hertha.
  • Danny Williams got the start, his first appearance since the friendly against Costa Rica last October.
  • Having moved to Heart of Midlothian in Scotland this March, Perry Kitchen got his first start for the USA in his fourth cap.

– U.S. Men’s National Team Match Report –

Match: U.S. Men’s National Team vs. Puerto Rico
May 22, 2015
International Friendly
Juan Ramón Loubriel Stadium; Bayamón, Puerto Rico
12 p.m. ET
88 degrees; sunny

Scoring Summary:       1          2          F
USA                             2          1          3
PUR                             1          0          1

USA – Tim Ream                                          20th minute
USA – Bobby Wood (Paul Arriola)             34
PUR – Luis Betancur (Joseph Marrero)    42
USA – Paul Arriola (Alejandro Bedoya)   56

USA: 1-Brad Guzan (12-Tim Howard, 46); 2-DeAndre Yedlin, 14-Michael Orozco, 6-John Brooks (3-Matt Miazga, 46), 5-Tim Ream (16-Julian Green, 63); 15-Perry Kitchen (8-Emerson Hyndman, 46), 10-Danny Williams, 11-Alejandro Bedoya (capt.) (21-Eric Lichaj, 63), 9-Alfredo Morales; 7-Bobby Wood (19-Fabrice Picault, 71), 17-Paul Arriola
Subs Not Used: 4-Caleb Stanko, 13-Amando Moreno
Head Coach: Jurgen Klinsmann

PUR: 1-Matthew Sanchez; 22-Patrick Lopez (6-Alexis Rivera, 46), 2-Juan Velez, 8-Emmanuel D’Andrea (capt.), 4-Marcos Martinez; 7-Christopher Clark (5-Michael Fernandez, 58), 19-Jeremy Hall; 10-Joseph Marrero (11-David Caban, 85), 18-Jorge Rivera (21-Samuel Soto, 68), 15-Emanuel Sánchez (3-Darren Rios, 78), 17-Luis Betancur (16-Olvin Ortiz, 67)
Subs Not Used: 2-Elior Velez, 12-Christian Abreu, 13-Jose Arroyo, 20-Bryant Velazquez
Head coach: Jack Stefanowski

Stats Summary: USA / PUR
Shots: 11 / 5
Shots on Goal: 8 / 4
Saves: 3 / 5
Corner Kicks: 2 / 0
Fouls: 4 / 2
Offside: 4 / 1

Misconduct Summary:

Kimball Ward (SKN)                                       
Assistant Referee 1:
Graeme Browne (SKN)
Assistant Referee 2:
Ike Innis (SKN)
Fourth Official:
Javier Santos (PUR)                                                                            

Budweiser Man of the Match: Alfredo Morales

USA Begins Copa America Preparations with 3-1 Win vs. Puerto Rico – U.S. Soccer (press release) (registration) (blog)