The United States Men's National Team will be playing in their final tune-up game on Saturday before the start of the 2016 Copa America Centenario on Friday, June 3rd. Their opponent on Saturday will be Bolivia and the match will be held at Children's Mercy Park in Kansas City, Kansas.
Not a lot of history between the two of them
This match will mark the eighth meeting between the USA and Bolivia. The Yanks are still looking for their first victory against La Verde. The overall record for the USMNT against Bolivia is (W-D-L) 0-5-2. US manager Jurgen Klinsmann will be hoping that the momentum from their 1-0 victory against Ecuador on Wednesday will carry on to Saturday.
How the United States win
The USMNT against Bolivia needs to approach the match with an aggressive mindset. Against nations like Colombia, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Ecuador and a couple of others they need to rely on the counter to get a result.
However, La Verde is currently not going through the best moment in their soccer history with the Bolivian FA and the Bolivian domestic league currently not on the same page. In fact, the relationship has gotten so bad that some players have refused call-ups to the national team.
So at the moment, Bolivia is a team that is in desperate need of some good news. Now the USMNT would be wise to give starts Darlington Nagbe and Bobby Wood and let the teenager Christian Pulisic log some serious minutes. The USMNT will want to go after La Verde from the start of the match and score any early goal to discourage Bolivia.
Additionally, the midfield will need to make sure that they play smart and move the ball quickly around the pitch. The last thing the Yanks want is to allow the Bolivians to grow confidence and unleash veteran striker Juan Carlos Arce.
If Klinsmann starts the players that will allow the US to have a more offensive mindset then the Yanks will be heading to the Copa America opener against Colombia with momentum. However, if the Americans start the match the same way they did against Ecuador then Bolivia might surprise them. A defeat against La Verde after beating Ecuador will send the US with a mixed bag to start the tournament.
How Bolivia can stun the Yanks
La Verde enters this tournament with an inexperienced roster. There are only five players on the 23-man squad with over 20 caps. The list of players is Carlos Arce (49 caps), Jhasmani Campos (33 caps), captain Edward Zenteno (25 caps), Marvin Bejarano (26 caps) and Luis Alberto Gutiérrez (31 caps). There are 13 players on this squad who have less than 10 caps to their name. Five of those are entering this tournament still waiting to earn their first appearance for the national team.
A team that is entering a competition with little experience has a lot of things going against them. However, manager Julio Cesar Baldivieso can use that to their advantage. A lot of players who enter a national team camp for the first time do not show fear since they have never tasted international soccer.
This game against the US is a good start for them. They have to be fearless and run at the Yanks' defense, which has shown vulnerability to nations that are aggressive with the ball. Allowing the inexperienced players to stretch their legs and gain some momentum before the start of the tournament will help them earn a positive result in the must-win game against Panama on June 6th.