PREVIEW: USMNT hosting Bolivia in Memorial Day friendly
CHICAGO (Via U.S. Soccer) – One of the youngest MNT rosters in recent memory has gathered in Philadelphia for a Memorial Day clash with Bolivia on Monday, May 28.
The 22-player squad carries an average age of just under 23 years and will have the opportunity to gain valuable international experience as they continue to forge the future for the USA. Three players have earned their first MNT call-ups and seven will hope to pick up their first caps against La Verde.
Coverage of USA-Bolivia kicks off from Talen Energy Stadium in Chester, Pa. at 6:30 p.m. ET on FOX Sports 1, UniMas and UDN.
“As I’ve talked about throughout this process, the theme is to offer opportunity to this younger generation of talented players that have potential down the road with the program,” Sarachan said. “We’ve had first-time call-ups in every camp since November, and this is another extension of that. We’re going into the Bolivia game with newer faces along with a few familiar players as well. Overall, these types of games provide great chances for players to bank key minutes in international matches.”
U.S. MNT Roster by Position (Club; Caps/Goals):
GOALKEEPERS (3): Alex Bono (Toronto FC/CAN; 0/0), Bill Hamid (Midtjylland/DEN; 5/0), Ethan Horvath (Club Brugge/BEL; 2/0)
DEFENDERS (8): Cameron Carter-Vickers (Tottenham Hotspur/ENG; 2/0), Eric Lichaj (Nottingham Forest/ENG; 14/1), Matt Miazga (Chelsea/ENG; 5/1), Matthew Olosunde (Manchester United/ENG; 0/0), Erik Palmer-Brown (Manchester City/ENG; 0/0), Antonee Robinson (Everton/ENG; 0/0), Jorge Villafaña (Santos Laguna/MEX; 16/0), Walker Zimmerman (LAFC; 2/0)
MIDFIELDERS (9): Joe Corona (Club América/MEX; 20/3), Lynden Gooch (Sunderland/ENG; 3/0), Julian Green (Stuttgart/GER; 8/3), Alejandro Guido (Club Tijuana/MEX; 0/0), Weston McKennie (Schalke/GER; 1/1), Keaton Parks (Benfica/POR; 0/0), Christian Pulisic (Borussia Dortmund/GER; 20/9), Rubio Rubin (Club Tijuana/MEX; 5/0), Tim Weah (Paris Saint-Germain/FRA; 1/0)
FORWARDS (2): Andrija Novakovich (Reading/ENG; 1/0), Josh Sargent (Werder Bremen/GER; 0/0)
CHRISTIAN PULISIC RETURNS TO MNT
The May camp marks Hershey, Pa., native Christian Pulisic’s first time back with the MNT since October 2017. The 19-year-old attacker was a mainstay with Borussia Dortmund this past season, making 41 competitive appearances while helping the Bundesliga club qualify for next season’s UEFA Champions League. The U.S. Soccer 2017 Male Player of the Year Award winner was a revelation for the MNT last year, recording six goals and four assists in nine appearances. Pulisic’s 20 caps tie him with Joe Corona for most on the roster that will face Bolivia.
THE THEME OF 22
In choosing his roster to face Bolivia, head coach Dave Sarachan has continued to give the next generation of U.S. players the chance to earn their way with the MNT. As such, 22 isn’t just representative of the number of players that will arrive in Philadelphia, it’s also a recurring theme reflecting the youthful nature of the squad to face Bolivia. Upon arrival to Philadelphia, the squad’s average age was 22 years, 286 days, while 15 are age 22 and under. To underline that point – but not make anyone feel too old — only defenders Eric Lichaj (1988) and Jorge Villafaña (1989) were born before 1990.
PACKING THE PASSPORTS
Just like for the MNT’s March camp, the coaching staff has scouted and selected players plying their trade in 10 different countries across Europe and North America. The group includes first-time call-ups for players in Portugal (Keaton Parks), England (Matthew Olosunde) and Mexico (Alejandro Guido).
- The USA will face Bolivia for the eighth time on Monday night. The MNT is 1-2-4 all-time against La Verde.
- The two nations last met in an international friendly to prepare for the 2016 Copa America Centenario, a 4-0 victory for the USA on May 28, 2016, two years to the day from the upcoming match-up.
- That night, in just his third MNT appearance, Christian Pulisic became the USA’s youngest goal scorer in the modern era with a 69th minute strike.
- Pulisic is the only returning MNT player that faced Bolivia in 2016.
- The teams have met just once in official competition, a 1-0 defeat during the 1995 Copa America in Uruguay.
- The MNT has shut out opponents in six of its last eight games in the U.S.
- The USA is 4-1-1 all-time in Philadelphia, and 5-2-3 all-time in the state of Pennsylvania.
- The MNT played in the City of Brotherly Love last summer, a 2-0 victory against El Salvador in its run to the 2017 Gold Cup title. Veteran defender Eric Lichaj scored his first international goal in the match.
- This marks the fourth consecutive summer that the USA will play in the Philadelphia area, as the MNT took on Paraguay at Lincoln Financial Field in the group stage of the 2016 Copa America Centenario.
USA-Bolivia All-Time Results
|Date||Result||Location||U.S. Goal Scorers||Competition|
|May 23, 1993||0-0 D||Fullerton, Calif.||—||Friendly|
|Feb. 18, 1994||1-1 D||Miami, Fla.||C. Jones||Friendly|
|March 26, 1994||2-2 D||Dallas, Texas||Perez (2)||Friendly|
|July 11, 1995||0-1 L||Paysandu, Uruguay||—||Copa America|
|June 12, 1996||0-2 L||Washington D.C.||—||Friendly|
|Jan. 24, 1999||0-0 D||Santa Cruz, Bolivia||—||Friendly|
|May 28, 2016||4-0 W||Kansas City, Kan.||Brooks, Pulisic, Zardes (2)||Friendly|
USA ROSTER NOTES
- The average age of the roster was 22 years, 286 days at the start of camp.
- Fifteen players are age 22 and under, while only two players were born before 1990.
- The 22-player roster represents clubs in nine different countries: England (8), Germany (4), Mexico (4), Belgium (1), Canada (1), Denmark (1), France (1), Portugal (1), USA (1).
- Twenty players are based in Europe or Mexico, while two – Toronto FC goalkeeper Alex Bono and LAFC defender Walker Zimmerman — represent M.L.S. clubs.
- With 20 caps each, midfielders Joe Corona and Christian Pulisic are the most seasoned players internationally, followed by Jorge Villafaña (16) and Eric Lichaj (14).
- The group of 18 other players combine for 51 career caps, while none of them have made more than eight appearances for the MNT.
- Hailing from nearby Hershey, Pa., 2017 U.S. Soccer Male Player of the Year Christian Pulisic returns to the MNT for the first time since last October.
- Three players earned their first invitation to Men’s National Team camp: Alejandro Guido, Matthew Olosunde and Keaton Parks.
- Seven players will arrive in Philadelphia hoping to make their first MNT appearance: Alex Bono, Guido, Olosunde, Erik Palmer-Brown, Parks, Antonee Robinson, Josh Sargent
- Nine players are age-eligible for participation in the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo (born after Jan. 1, 1997): Cameron Carter-Vickers, Weston McKennie, Olosunde, Palmer-Brown, Parks, Pulisic, Robinson, Sargent and Tim Weah
- Matt Miazga arrived in camp after scoring the game-winning goal in Vitesse’s 2-1 win over Utrecht in the second leg of the Eredivisie’s Europa League Qualifying Playoff Final. Signed with English club Chelsea, Miazga has turned in another strong season on loan with the Dutch club, appearing in 43 of a possible 45 matches across all competitions this season, while contributing four goals.
- Twenty-year-old center back Cameron Carter-Vickers got a great taste of first-team football this past season, playing 17 league matches each on loan at Sheffield United and more recently Ipswich Town. Last week, the 20-year-old signed a contract extension with Tottenham Hotspur through 2021.
- Having made 17 appearances during the Clausura campaign, veteran defender Jorge Villafaña has helped Santos Laguna to the Liga MX championship, a 3-1 aggregate victory over Toluca. He became just the third American to take home both the M.L.S. and Liga MX titles, following Herculez Gomez and Omar Gonzalez.
- After becoming the third youngest modern era MNT player to score in his debut last November in Portugal, Weston McKennie arrived in Philadelphia fresh off his first full season with Schalke. The central midfielder made 22 league appearances in helping Die Knappen to a second-place finish in the Bundesliga and a spot in next season’s Champions League.
- On the heels of his first MNT appearance in March, forward Andrija Novakovich closed out his impressive campaign on loan from Reading with Dutch Erstedivisie side Telstar, scoring 21 goals in 37 league matches while helping the club to the promotion playoffs and its best league finish since 1994.
- The sole player on the roster with FIFA World Cup experience, Julian Green returned to the MNT for the first time since November 2016. Green comes off a season on loan with German side Greuther Fürth, where his goal on the final day of the season helped the club avoid relegation from the 2.Bundesliga.
- Son of 1995 FIFA World Player of the Year and current Liberian president George Weah, the eighteen-year-old Weah earned his first start for Paris Saint-Germain in the French champions’ 0-0 season-ending draw at Caen.
- Veteran right back Eric Lichaj has made some special memories in the City of Brotherly Love. The defender earned his MNT debut in a 0-0 draw with Colombia at PPL Park (now Talen Energy Stadium) on Oct. 12, 2010, and then scored his first international goal in the MNT’s 2-0 Gold Cup Quarterfinal win against El Salvador at Lincoln Financial Field on July 19, 2017.
- A total of 10 players have been part of the final U.S. roster at a Youth World Cup: Carter-Vickers, Guido, Miazga, Olosunde, Palmer-Brown, Pulisic, Rubin, Sargent, Villafaña and Weah.
- Thirteen players are alumni of the U.S. Soccer Development Academy: Bono (Empire United), Gooch (Santa Cruz Breakers), Hamid (D.C. United), Horvath (Real Colorado), McKennie (FC Dallas), Miazga (New York Red Bulls), Novakovich (Chicago Magic PSG), Olosunde (New York Red Bulls), Palmer-Brown (Sporting KC), Pulisic (PA Classics), Rubin (Portland Timbers), Sargent (St. Louis Scott Gallagher-Missouri), Weah (New York Red Bulls/BW Gottschee)
Bolivia Roster by Position (Club; Caps/Goals):
GOALKEEPERS (2): Carlos Lampe (Huachipato/CHI; 21/0), Guillermo Vizcarra (Hapoel Ra’anana/ISR; 1/0)
DEFENDERS (7): Carlos Añez (Oriente Petrolero; 0/0), Oscar Baldomar (Universitario de Sucre; 0/0), Cristian Coimbra (Blooming; 4/0), Luis Haquim (Oriente Petrolero; 2/0), Gustavo Olguin (Oriente Petrolero; 0/0), Jesus Sagredo (Blooming; 0/0), Jose Sagredo (Blooming; 7/0)
MIDFIELDERS (9): Danny Bejarano (Panteolikos FC/GRE; 17/0), Rodrigo Borda (Universitario de Sucre; 0/0), Leandro Maygua (Universitario de Sucre; 4/0), Sergio Moruno (Aurora; 0/0), Edson Perez (Nacional Potosi; 0/0), Miguel Quiroga (Nacional Potosi; 0/0), Juan Ribera (Oriente Petrolero; 0/0), Rodrigo Rodriguez (Oriente Petrolero; 0/0), Luis Jose Vargas (Blooming; 3/1)
FORWARDS (4): Bruno Miranda (DC United/USA; 5/0), Hector Ronaldo Sanchez (Oriente Petrolero; 1/0), Leonardo Vaca (Blooming; 0/0) Rodrigo Vargas (Karpaty FC/UKR; 3/0)
- Bolivia failed to qualify for the 2018 FIFA World Cup from a very competitive CONMEBOL qualifying group. The nation finished ninth in the 10-team pool.
- While La Verde did not qualify, the team put together impressive wins against Copa America champion Chile (1-0 on Sept. 5, 2017) and runner-up Argentina (2-0 on March 28, 2017).
- With 21 caps, goalkeeper Carlos Lampe is the most experienced player on the roster.
- Half of the 22-player roster will look to earn their first caps against the USA
- Only one player on the roster has scored an international goal: midfielder Luis Jose Vargas.
- Head coach Cesar Farias is Venezuelan, and has spent a long coaching career across South America, Mexico and India. His last club coaching assignment came in Bolivia with The Strongest.
- Farias led Venezuela to its best-ever finish at the Copa America in 2011 and guided the U-20 squad to its first-ever World Cup qualification in 2009.
- Bolivia is 4-4-2 since the start of 2017, but has won just one of its last six matches
- La Verde has won just one road game since the start of 2016 (1-12-1).
- Bolivia has scored just three goals over its last four matches. All three goals have been own goals.
- Seventeen of 22 players gathered in Philadelphia play domestically in Bolivia. Six come from Oriente Petrolero, recently one of the league’s most successful teams.
- Forward Bruno Miranda is the sole U.S.-based player. He’s recently returned to D.C. United after a loan with the Richmond Kickers.
- Goalkeeper Guillermo Viscarra manned the net for Bolivia against the USA in 2016, while Miranda also made an appearance. Lampe was rostered but did not play.
- Bolivia’s last World Cup appearance came in the USA in 1994. La Verde played Germany in the opening match at Chicago’s Soldier Field in front of 63,000 fans.