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Global May 22, 2016

USMNT set to face Puerto Rico in friendly on Sunday

CHICAGO (Via U.S. Soccer) – The U.S. Men’s National Team begins its series of friendlies in preparation for Copa America Centenario against Puerto Rico in Bayamón on May 22 at Juan Ramón Loubriel Stadium. Kickoff is set for 12 p.m. ET and the match will be broadcast live on FS1, UniMas and Univision Deportes Network.

U.S. Men’s National Team head coach Jurgen Klinsmann has called up 22 players based in Europe and Mexico for a transitional camp and the Puerto Rico friendly. The roster features a mixture of veterans with World Cup experience as well as players who will be looking to earn their first cap with the senior team. Aside from Tim Howard, who will be joining the Colorado Rapids following the tournament, Major League Soccer players are unavailable for this match.

+Read: USMNT 23-player roster announced for Copa America Centenario

Not only will it be a special occasion for the players, the match marks the first official meeting between the U.S. and Puerto Rico. It will be the first game since March for either side. In World Cup Qualifying, the U.S. split games with Guatemala while Puerto Rico beat Anguilla 4-0 before falling to Guyana in the opening round of qualifying for the 2017 Caribbean Cup.

MNT ROSTER : This roster is only being used for the training camp and friendly match against Puerto Rico. MLS players will join the team after their weekend matches. A total of seven players on the roster were not available for selection for the 23-man list for Copa America Centenario.

“We are doing this week in Miami and finishing off the week with a game in Puerto Rico because it’s really important in terms of transitioning our players coming in from Europe and some who are already done in Mexico to keep them in a flow, to keep them in a rhythm,” said Klinsmann. “One of our lessons from last year’s Gold Cup was because the tournament was pushed into July, we couldn’t transition our European-based players and some of the Mexican players perfectly. We appreciate all the efforts of the Puerto Rican Football Association in organizing the match.”

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)

  • Eight players were a part of the team to make the Round of 16 in the 2014 World Cup: Tim Howard, John Brooks, Geoff Cameron, DeAndre Yedlin, Alejandro Bedoya, Fabian Johnson and Julian Green all played important minutes in Brazil while Brad Guzan was the always reliable backup at goalkeeper.
  • Those veterans are not the only ones to represent their country well in a World Cup recently. Four of the players were part of the 2015 U-20 World Cup team that made the quarterfinals this past year: Emerson Hyndman scored twice while captaining the side and Paul Arriola found the back of the net against hosts New Zealand. Zack Steffen and Matt Miazga were both part of a defense that kept three clean sheets in five games.
  • Hyndman made his senior team debut against the Czech Republic in September 2014, and Miazga debuted against St. Vincent & The Grenadines in November 2015.
  • Arriola and Steffen join Amando Moreno, Fabrice Picault and Caleb Stanko in hopes of collecting their first caps in Bayamón.
  • Although experience is heavy in the defensive side of the team, only two of the forwards have scored in an international match. Bobby Wood has four goals, including game-winners against the Netherlands and Germany last year. Green scored in his World Cup debut against Belgium.
  • Even though the class of forwards are relatively new on the international scene, the rest of the roster boats an array of players that contribute to the attack in various ways. In the midfield Johnson, Bedoya, and Danny Williams each have two goals on their international records. This season, Johnson scored twice in the Champions League and Williams scored a screamer for Championship side Reading that was nominated for Football League Goal of the Season. Within the back four, Cameron and Michael Orozco both have scored goals on set pieces this year.
  • The German and English domestic leagues predominately make up the 22 players on this roster. Each country boasts eight players to play within their borders. Three play in Mexico, and one each for France and Scotland. Howard spent the season in the English Premier League with Everton, but has since moved to the Colorado Rapids and will debut after the tournament.
  • The roster features a trio from Mexican side Club Tijuana, while Fulham and Freiburg both have American duos. Orozco, Arriola and Moreno all play south of the border for Xolos. Tim Ream join Hyndman in the fold at Craven Cottage, and Steffan and Stanko were part of the Freiburg’s promotion to the Bundesliga.
  • Howard is the most capped player on the roster, featuring 107 times in goal including commanding the area in both the 2010 and 2014 World Cups.
  • 6,244 days days separate the birthdays of Howard and Hydman, the oldest and youngest players in the side.

USA vs Puerto Rico

The match in Bayamón will mark the first official meeting between the two senior teams.

Most recent common opponent: Canada

  • MNT vs Canada (02/05/16): Win 1-0
  • Puerto Rico vs Canada (03/30/15): Loss 0-3

Current CONCACAF Competitions:

  • MNT – World Cup Qualifying Semifinal Round (2nd Place in Group C)
  • Puerto Rico – 2017 Caribbean Cup Qualification Second Round (No games played)


Puerto Rico ( Federación Puertorriqueña de Fútbol )
FIFA affiliation:
Head Coach:
Jack Stefanowski
FIFA World Ranking:
Best World Cup Finish:
Has never qualified
Leading Cap Winner:
Alexis Rivera (29)
Leading Goal Scorer:
Héctor Ramos (13)


GOALKEEPERS (3): José Arroyo (Penn State Abington), Matthew Sanchez (Loyola Greyhounds), Bryant Velázquez (Western Nebraska Community College)

DEFENDERS (4): Emmanuel D’Andrea (Sevilla C), Alexis Rivera (Bayamón FC), Elliot Vélez (Criollos de Caguas FC), Juan Vélez (Criollos de Caguas FC)

MIDFIELDERS (10): Christian Abreu (Guayanilla Pumas), David Caban (Unattached), Christopher Clark (Albany Great Danes), Juan Coca (Kultsu FC), Michael Fern ández (Bayamon FC), Jeremy Hall (Tampa Bay Rowdies), Marcos Martinez (Club Atletico Fajardo), Darren Rios (Florida International Panthers), Manolo Sanchez (San Antonio FC), Samuel Soto (Bayamón FC)

FORWARDS (4): Luis Betancur (Florida International Panthers), Joseph Marrero (Puerto Rico FC), Olvin Ortiz (Club Atletico Fajardo), Jorge Rivera (Puerto Rico FC)

  • El Huracán Azul features eight players playing professionally in their domestic league. Three play for local team Bayamón FC.
  • Emmanuel D’Andrea and Juan Coca are the only two players playing overseas in Europe for Puerto Rico. D’Andrea is part of the three-time defending Europa League winners Sevilla’s reserve setup, while Coca, who scored a brace against Anguilla in March, plays in Finland’s third division.
  • Youth is a theme throughout Puerto Rico’s roster which features six players currently playing college soccer in the United States. Loyola goalkeeper Matthew Sanchez was named man of the match for Puerto Rico in a recent friendly against MLS side New York City FC. Florida International duo Luis Betancur and Darren Rios will look to carry over some chemistry they’ve created in the past year in South Florida. They combined to score 13 goals for the Panthers last fall.
  • Joining Betancur up top are Joseph Marrero and Jorge Rivera of Puerto Rico FC. Later this year, Puerto Rico FC will begin their inaugural season in the North American Soccer League. They join fellow countryman and Tampa Bay Rowdies midfielder Jeremy Hall in the NASL.