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Copa America: USMNT cruise to commercial win over Bolivia on goals from Christian Pulisic, Fowler Balogan

ARLINGTON, Texas — The U.S. Men’s National Team wasted no time in two preliminary tests at the 2024 Copa America. It knew that with every scoreless minute, the fans would grow restless; It knew that with every toothless possession, Bolivian confidence grew. So, in the third minute of the USMNT’s Copa America opener here at AT&T Stadium, Christian Pulisic took on Captain America.

He curled a charm in the top corner, setting an emphatic tone.

He took precautions and removed all American concerns.

Pulisic’s early goal gave Bolivia a 2-0 win on Sunday – and hopes will be a rich contest.

In many ways, the USMND was Defeated Bolivia and did as he was told. The performance was more satisfying than flashy, more commercial than thrilling or hopeful. It was boring and dull at times.

But that was enough. After the momentum seemed to have waned in the first half, Fowler’s Balogan doubled the lead and put Bolivia to bed.

After halftime, “USA” chants began to chorus around the Dallas Cowboys’ 80,000-seat Jerryworld. The tide turned counter-clockwise, reviving what many feared would be a stalemate.

The 400 stage was actually mostly empty, but 47,873 fans filled the bowls under the massive structure. They almost blew up when Ricardo Pepi took several chances in the second half; Somehow, none of his shots — some from close range, some well struck — found the back of the net.

Although they didn’t score in the second half, most fans appreciated the performance.

It will also be appreciated as something of an appetizer; And the tests get tougher from here. Bolivia is arguably the worst team in this Copa America. Panama, a formidable CONCACAF foe, is next Thursday in Atlanta.

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Then Uruguay comes in Kansas City, and then maybe against Colombia or Brazil in the quarterfinals. That’s where this chapter of the USMND story — and Greg Berhalter’s second cycle at the helm of the team — will be written.

The United States entered the tournament at a possible inflection point of the Berhalter era. Come mid-July, it may have signature hits and proof of concept; Or there may be evidence that progress has stagnated before 2022 and the coach needs to go.

Sunday, through that lens, was all risk and no reward. There was a risk to be avoided rather than an opportunity to rise. Success is an expectation, a demand. Anything less would have been a huge disappointment.

So, the expectation was fulfilled. USA takes three points to Atlanta.

Panama and Uruguay will decide the shape of the group going into Day 2 with a game later on Sunday night.

Live coverage is over47 updates

  • Final USMNT thoughts

    Well, that was good. passable. At times discouraging, at others somewhat dynamic, and ultimately sufficient.

    It was a result of the USA-Jamaica game in March. That night, and many more, America struggled to break through low blocks. On this night, Pulisic made that conversation in less than three minutes, and the U.S. cruised through unchallenged. Would the game have been different had Pulisic not curled a beauty into the top corner? Who knows.

    Positive Actions:

    • Pulisic is boy. He is in shape. He likes the responsibility of giving the captain’s armband. He is ready to play this team as long as he can.

    • Fowler’s Balogan scored his first goal in six American games. Will that boost his confidence, which seemed to be in the basement for the first 40 minutes of the game? We will see.

    • Tyler Adams started and came through unscathed.

    The negatives?

    • Ricardo Pepi had several chances but didn’t get the confidence-boosting goal.

    • America was somewhat sloppy and ragged in possession. A better team would have been an advantage.

    All in all, let’s forget about this game. The next two, three or more will define the USMNT’s Copa America.

  • The USMNT is close to 3 points

    After a mostly quiet second half, the USA looked comfortable riding a 2-0 scoreline to the final whistle. But not Ricardo Pepi, who took another shot from 5 yards out that was denied by Bolivia’s Guillermo Vizcarra. Then after the diversion it was denied again!

  • 86′ US alternative

    Tim Weah left for Brendan Aaronson.

  • 79′ Pepi almost gets on the board

    Ricardo Pepi fires a shot at goal but is denied.

  • 74′ US alternative

    Luca De La Torre comes to Weston McKenney.

  • 74′ Substitution

    Ramiro Vacca of Bolivia replaced Jesus Sagredo.

  • 68′ Substitution

    Carmelo Alcaranas replaces Bruno Miranda for Bolivia.

  • 65′ Substitution

    The USMNT replaces Folarin Balogun with Ricardo Pepi and Gio Reyna with Johnny Cardoso.

  • Johnny comes for Jio

    Berhalter closes up shop

  • Tim Ream is concerned

    Reem seems to be struggling with something, though he doesn’t know what.

    Matt Turner threw the ball out of bounds so that Ream could find it. Reem bowed down. Athletic trainers haven’t been around to check on him, so it looks like he’ll continue. But let’s see if that worry lasts, and let’s see if Reem lasts 90 minutes.

  • 53′ Balogan gets his second

  • 49′ Yellow card

    Weston McKenney earns his first booking after a tough challenge.

  • Part-time alternative to the US

    Younus Musa comes in for Tyler Adams.

    Adams is definitely on some sort of minutes limit. We don’t (yet) know if the predetermined limit was 45, or if it was higher, but Berhalter decided the game was in control.

  • 46′ Substitution

    Miguel Terceros comes in for Cesar Menacho in the Bolivian side, replacing Yunus Musa and Tyler Adams.

  • Halftime: USA 2-0 Bolivia

    The USMNT have a comfortable 2-0 lead after goals from Christian Pulisic and Fowler Balogun.

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