KENYA BROWN - Monday, May 23, 2016
Goals from Tim Ream, Bobby Wood and Paul Arriola were enough for the U.S. national team to get the win against Puerto Rico on Sunday in Bayamon.
This was the first in a series of warm-up games the U.S. will play ahead of their opening Copa América Centenario game on June 3.
The U.S. entered the game with several issues. First was a spate injuries as Geoff Cameron and Fabian Johnson did not make the trip while they continue to recover from leg injuries. Second, was the question of how the central defense pairing would work out as U.S. head coach Jurgen Klinsmann has gone with different sets of players with varying results. Third was the issue of how those players not selected for the Copa would perform in what was, for them, merely a game that could determine whether they would get call ups for the World Cup qualifiers later this summer.
The U.S. opened the scoring in the 20th minute when Alfredo Morales' long-range effort was stopped by Puerto Rico goalkeeper Matthew Sanchez, but Tim Ream would fire home the rebound with a left-footed shot.
The score would increase to 2-0 in the 34th minute when Wood ran on to a pass from Arriola, rounded his marker and lifted the ball over Sanchez into the goal. Despite the goal, some Puerto Rico fans booed the U.S. team for not kicking the ball out of bounds as two players went down on the field.
Those fans would have reason to celebrate three minutes before halftime when Luis Betancur cut the United States' lead in half after Ream's throw-in was intercepted and Joseph Marrero's pass allowed the former Florida International University player to take a shot from outside the area that beat Brad Guzan.
The U.S. made several substitutions at the start of the second half, with Tim Howard coming in for Guzan and Matt Miazga and Emerson Hyndman both entering the game to earn their second caps.
Arriola pushed the United States' lead back up by two goals when he scored the team's third in the 56th minute. A cross from Alejandro Bedoya on the right allowed the 21-year-old to tap the ball in from close range.
Fabrice Picault, Eric Lichaj and Julian Green all entered the game for the U.S. in the latter stages of play.
One concern for the U.S. coming out this game will be the condition of Bedoya, who captained the side, as he left the game in the 63rd minute with a sore ankle.
The U.S. will now head to Frisco, Texas, where they will take on Ecuador on Wednesday.