5 Takeaways From the USMNT’s Copa America Victory Over Bolivia

The United States men’s national team began its Copa America campaign with a convincing 2-0 win over Bolivia. The relatively easy victory earned the USMNT three crucial points to get one step closer to the knockout stage.

And so it has begun. The scrutiny of the United States men’s national team from the media and fans alike will reach new peaks as the Americans take on Copa America 2024. No longer wet behind the ears, the USMNT won’t have the excuse of youth to hide behind, and the hypothetical questions and discussions from the last four years will finally unravel.

Gregg Berhalter’s side will compete in a tournament alongside prestigious teams including Brazil, Colombia, Uruguay, and reigning world champions Argentina.

The team is expected to go far, with many ambitious fans and pundits setting the bar at a semifinals appearance. More importantly, the USMNT is looking to win at least one game against a marquee opponent, such as Uruguay, who it will face off against in its final group stage match.

The squad opened things up against Bolivia, the worst team in CONMEBOL for well over 20 years, and as expected it was really no contest. The Americans outshot their opponents 20-6 and secured an easy 2-0 victory with a fantastic goal from Christian Pulisic and a nice finish by Folarin Balogun.

Here are five things we learned from the U.S. versus Bolivia.

Christian Pulisic is the Ticket to Victory

For a long time, a small group of online pundits and vloggers had touted Gio Reyna as the player who would eventually lead the USMNT. However, on this current team, Reyna is a role player with high quality, and the true star is Pulisic.

One of, if not the most promising talent to don a USMNT kit, Pulisic has scored 30 goals in 69 caps for the team. When the AC Milan winger is in top form, he is by far the team’s best and most important player.

He needed just three minutes to place an absolute dart in to the top right corner against Bolivia, and it’s clear that Pulisic has his eyes set on a podium finish. As long as he is playing with confidence an conviction, the U.S. team will have a fighting chance to do so.

A Shaky Backline Not Tested

usmnt bolivia

The USMNT has a backline with many questions hanging over it. Antonee Robinson and Joe Scally turned in solid performances on the flanks, but there really wasn’t many opportunities for the back line to be tested against Bolivia. How the team performs defensively will determine how far it can go in the tournament.

Along with Robinson and Scally, center backs Tim Ream and Chris Richards will face tougher challenges against Panama, a team with enough talent to put up more of a fight. However, the USMNT’s true test in defense will come against Uruguay. For now, maintaining stability and avoiding silly mistakes should suffice.

It’s Tim Weah Time

Tim Weah has a knack for shining in tournament settings. He has shown this in the Nations League, the World Cup, and now in the Copa America. Once again, the versatile Juventus player put in a solid performance in the USMNT’s opening match, and was a constant threat on the wing.

Weah is fearless in taking shots on goal and has a proven acumen for finishing. If he maintains this form, he could have a very successful tournament.

Gio Reyna: Defender?

Asked to contribute more defensively, Reyna’s performance against Bolivia was unexpected. Many will be watching Reyna closely, as he showcased a more workhorse-like performance.

It seems like a waste for Reyna to be tracking back, as he is a gifted offensive player. Integrating him more into the final third will be crucial for the USMNT to have another attacking ace up its sleeve.

Additionally, Reyna desperately needs to shine at this Copa America to secure a much-needed transfer to a European team that will give him consistent playing time. He logged just over 600 minutes across all competitions with Borussia Dortmund and Nottingham Forest last season, and he hasn’t amassed 2,000 minutes over a season since the 2020-21 campaign, when he was just 18 years old.

It’s good that Reyna is working for the team, but to operate at full throttle, the USMNT needs him in an attacking role.

Ricardo Pepi: Super Sub

While Ricardo Pepi missed a few chances, he also dug deep to create opportunities and posed a significant challenge for Bolivia’s defense after coming on in the 65th minute. Pepi has become accustomed to playing limited minutes and making the most of them.

As the tournament progresses, one thing to look for will be Pepi’s ability to give the team a boost. He can be a real game changer for the Americans should they need a late goal.

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