United States Opens Copa America Against Bolivia As Large Favorite

Written By

Updated on

United States Opens Copa America Against Bolivia As Large Favorite

The US men’s soccer team will aim for a winning start to its Copa America campaign when it takes on Bolivia at AT&T Stadium on June 22. The US will be in front of a home crowd in Texas, and it is the clear favorite to win this game. However, it cannot afford to be complacent, as Bolivia has some dangerous attackers within its ranks.

These teams have played against each other twice in the modern era. The US eased to a 4-0 win against Bolivia in a friendly back in 2016. It then beat Bolivia 3-0 in another friendly in 2018, courtesy of goals from Walker Zimmerman, Josh Sargent, and Tim Weah. Bolivia has overhauled its squad since then, and it will have a young, energetic starting XI when the teams face off, making this a potentially intriguing matchup at Copa America betting sites

USMNT vs. Bolivia odds & lines

USMNT vs. Bolivia player props

US might need to unleash Pulisic to win this game

Captain Christian Pulisic played a starring role in the USMNT’s 1-1 draw with Brazil in a pre-tournament friendly on June 12. He earned his team a draw after firing a low free kick past the outstretched glove of Brazilian goalkeeper Alisson in that game. Pulisic now has 29 goals in 68 games for his country, which is an impressive record for a wide player.

That result helped to banish the painful memories of Team USA’s 5-1 defeat to Colombia the previous week. The players were outfought and outclassed in that game, so the draw against a very strong Brazilian team should help to restore their confidence as they prepare to face Bolivia. Pulisic has cemented his status as the team’s key player, and he could cause plenty of problems for Bolivia’s inexperienced right-back, Diego Medina, if he gets the right service from the US midfield in this game.

Bolivia’s path to victory likely includes Ramiro Vaca

Bolivia goes into this game as the clear underdog. La Verde have a reasonably strong home record, as their opponents often struggle when playing at high altitudes in La Paz, but their away record is weak. They have not won a competitive game on foreign soil since 2015, when they beat Ecuador at Copa America.

History is against them in this game, but they have a few talented players on their roster. One who stands out is Ramiro Vaca, a technically gifted midfielder who plays for Bolívar in his homeland. Vaca has scored twice in his last six games, and he will try to pull the strings for Bolivia in midfield, so Yunus Musah and Weston McKennie cannot afford to give him too much time on the ball.

United States expected starting 11

US manager Gregg Berhalter is likely to stick with the same starting XI that held Brazil to a 1-1 draw on June 12. Matt Turner is the first-choice goalkeeper, despite falling out of favor at Nottingham Forest. Joe Scally will start at right-back, with Chris Richards and Tim Ream in the middle of the defense and Antonee Robinson on the left.

We should see Gio Reyna start alongside Musah and McKennie in a midfield trio, which would leave Tyler Adams on the bench. Tim Weah could start on the right of the attack, with Pulisic on the left and Ricardo Pepi up front. All 11 of those players ply their trade in major European leagues.

Bolivia expected starting 11

Bolivia manager Antônio Carlos Zago typically favors a traditional back four, a packed midfield, and a lone striker up front. Guillermo Viscarra appears to be the first-choice goalkeeper right now, and we could see a back four consisting of Marcelo Suárez, José Sagredo, Luis Haquín, and Medina, although Adrián Jusino offers another option.

Bolivia could deploy Boris Céspedes as a holding midfielder, with Vaca and either Gabriel Villamil or Miguel Terceros in slightly more advanced roles. Roberto Fernández may start on the left of the midfield to provide extra protection against the threat that Reyna poses, with Jaume Cuéllar on the right and Carmelo Algarañaz up front.

Photo by Associated Press