USMNT vs. Puerto Rico
Date: Sunday, May 22, 2016
Time: 12pm ET
Location: Juan Ramón Loubriel Stadium (Bayamón, Puerto Rico)
The road to the Copa American Centenario begins today across a bunch of water 3500 miles away from Santa Clara, California.
The United States men’s national team is set to play a historic friendly against Puerto Rico. It’s the first time the two sides have met in “international” competition. The match itself is slightly bizarre for a number of reason. Playing the island is, for all intents and purposes, an “international friendly”, despite PR being a unincorporated U.S. territory. Think England playing Wales.
Today’s match also falls outside of the FIFA match calendar so clubs are under no obligation to release players which is why the roster features only European and Mexican league-based players whose seasons are over. But more games, and more practice…. why not?
Any MLSers named to the actual 23-man Copa roster will report on Monday in Frisco. Coach Jurgen Klinsmann calls this a “transition camp” bridging players that he wants to keep an eye on and warming up many who will we’ll see this summer at Copa.
Enough facts! Let’s get to the HYPE!
This summer the USMNT participates in the largest soccer tournament on American soil since the ‘99 Women’s World Cup and the ‘94 men’s World Cup…. it all starts now. It is REAL. Every game is a moment to prepare. A new chance to see old favorites on the field while evaluating youngsters on their way up.
GOALKEEPERS (3): Brad Guzan (Aston Villa), Tim Howard (Colorado Rapids), Zack Steffen (SC Freiburg)
DEFENDERS (7): John Brooks (Hertha Berlin), Geoff Cameron (Stoke City), Eric Lichaj (Nottingham Forest), Matt Miazga (Chelsea), Michael Orozco (Club Tijuana), Tim Ream (Fulham), DeAndre Yedlin (Tottenham)
MIDFIELDERS (7): Alejandro Bedoya (Nantes), Emerson Hyndman (Fulham), Fabian Johnson (Borussia Monchengladbach), Perry Kitchen (Heart of Midlothian), Alfredo Morales (Ingolstadt), Caleb Stanko (SC Freiburg), Danny Williams (Reading)
FORWARDS (5): Paul Arriola (Club Tijuana), Julian Green (Bayern Munich), Fabrice Picault (FC St. Pauli), Amando Moreno (Club Tijuana), Bobby Wood (Hamburg)
This roster features seven players, and five MNT debutants (Paul Arriola, Amando Moreno, Fabrice Picault, Caleb Stanko, and Zack Steffen) that were included in the 40-man provisional roster that Klinsmann brought in just to take a look at.
It also includes a number of players who just got named to feature in Copa this summer: Brad Guzan, Tim Howard, John Brooks, Geoff Cameron, Eric Lichaj, Michael Orozco, DeAndre Yedlin, Alejandro Bedoya, Fabian Johnson, Perry Kitchen, and Bobby Wood. Each of these dudes is out to prove that they not only deserve that call up, but a spot in the starting line up on June 3rd. Sorry Timmy…. JK already said Guzan is the man.
Puerto Rico gave Spain a good run last August, but the side was recently eliminated from World Cup qualifying contention. The Blue Hurricane is anchored by 10-year MLS vet Jason Hernandez of NYCFC and two Finnish league players Juan Coca and Andres Cabrero. PR’s top scoring threat is Joseph Marrero of the NASL’s Puerto Rico FC and between the pipes is Matt Sanchez who plays in the US for Loyola University.
It’s USMNT gameday and it’s time to get #stoked for Copa. Get to your AO chapter bar for brunch or breakfast and let’s get #loud.
Don’t forget we’ve got Ecuador on Wednesday in Frisco, TX and Bolivia in Kansas City, KS, both at 8pm ET.
We love ya!