May 22, 2016
U.S. men cruise past Puerto Rico, 3-1
BAYAMÓN, Puerto Rico - 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.
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.
In the 20th minute, after some good hold-up play, 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.
Fourteen minutes later, the USA was able to hit Puerto Rico on the break with Arriola sending Wood through on goal. 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.
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 middle 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.
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 Fort Lauderdale Strikers forward Fafa Picault for his international debut. Picault and fellow second- half sub Emerson Hyndman both came close to scoring as the USA finished with a flurry of chances.
In the 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.
In the 82nd minute, Sanchez 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.
The MNT continues preparations for this summer's Copa America Centenario on Wednesday, May 25 when it meets South American foe Ecuador at Toyota Stadium in Frisco, Texas at 7 p.m. CT