USA vs Bolivia preview: Several USMNT rookies set to win first caps

In the three games since failing to qualify for the World Cup, the theme has focused on calling up young players. That has held true with the roster for this camp. The average age is less than 23 years old.

While some fans have made the argument that since missing the World Cup, the US needs to just build for the future and not worry about results until the 2019 Gold Cup, the argument should be made that the situation calls for the exact opposite.

Looking at this roster, it features seven players who have never been capped before: Alex Bono, Matthew Olosunde, Erik Palmer-Brown, Antonee Robinson, Alejandro Guido, Keaton Parks and Josh Sargent.

Arguably the two most experienced international players in the squad are 19 year old Christian Pulisic and 22 year old Julian Green, who is the only player on this roster to have ever played in a World Cup. Other veterans include Eric Lichaj, Joe Corona and Jorge Villafana.

Also included on the roster are Weston Mckennie and Tim Weah, who are getting regular minutes at Schalke and Paris Saint-Germain respectively. All in all, there is a lot of reason for optimism for the future looking at this group.

Results Matter

Yes, the youngsters should be called up and put out on the field but the notion that the results don’t matter is absurd.

It’s more important now than ever to start winning games regularly for two reasons:

  1. It would establish a culture of winning where losing is not acceptable
  2. It would go a long way towards getting the fans reengaged and reenergized about this team.

Many fans have been apathetic about the team for the better part of two or three years. A game against Bolivia would seem to present the perfect opportunity to get that train rolling.

The Opponent

Like the US, Bolivia failed to qualify for the World Cup. However, this was their sixth consecutive miss, having not gone to soccer’s biggest stage since it was in the US in 1994. They failed to get out of the group but gave a good account of themselves against the then-reigning champions Germany as well as South Korea and Spain.

To be frank, qualification was never really in the cards for Bolivia. They finished 9th out of 10 teams, ahead of only Venezuela, with a mere 14 points. Brazil topped the table with 41 points.

Recent results have also not been stellar for them as they obviously failed to make it to Russia this summer but also finished bottom of their group at the 2016 Copa America Centenario. Their roster for this game is mostly domestic based with only six of 28 players playing outside of Bolivia.

Only two players on the roster have more than 20 caps, goalkeeper Carlos Lampe with 21 and defender Ronald Raldes with 98. Of note, forward Bruno Miranda plays his club soccer in the US with the Richmond Kickers. After playing the US, the Bolivians will travel to Austria to play a World Cup prep match against South Korea (who will be in Russia).

Notes:

  1. Since failing to qualify for the World Cup, the US has not played any CONCACAF opponents.
  2. The USMNT has only ever played at Talen Energy Stadium (home of the Philadelphia Union) twice and has not won either of those games: a draw against Colombia in 2010 and a penalty shootout loss in the Gold Cup 3rd place game in 2015 against Panama.
  3. Interim manager Dave Sarachan has said he expects there to be some roster shakeup following this game heading to Europe for the games against Republic of Ireland and France.

When, Where
May 28, 2018
Talen Energy Stadium
Chester, Pennsylvania
6:30pm ET
Live on FS1, UniMas, Univision Deportes, DIRECTV NOW, Sling Blue and fubo (7-day free trial)

All-Time Series
USA trails 1-2-4

Last Meeting
May 28, 2016
Children’s Mercy Park
Kansas City, Kansas
USA 4-0 Bolivia

Current FIFA Ranking
USA: 24
Bolivia: 57

Next Game
June 2, 2018
International Friendly
USA @ Republic of Ireland
Aviva Stadium
Dublin, Ireland

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