USA vs Bolivia: Five interesting takeaways as Pulisic guides Copa hosts to victory in Group C opener



The United States Men’s National Team began their Copa 2024 campaign with a comfortable 2-0 win over Bolivia at the AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas courtesy of first half goals from skipper Christian Pulisic and forward Folarin Balogun. Here are five interesting takeaways from the game.

1. Perfect start for the host nation

The message from Gregg Berhalter to his team was clear from the onset, win!! Which is exactly what they did. The USMNT were bright off the mark and they quickly found their reward when Pulisic opened the scoring with a wonderful strike just three minutes into the game. The USMNT skipper also set up Balogun for USA’s second moments before half time. This victory gives them a perfect foundation to build on ahead of their next game against Panama where the hosts will surely be eyeing another victory.

2. Christian Pulisic, captain fantastic

The AC Milan forward enjoyed great form for the Rossoneri last season and much to the delight of Berhalter and the USMNT supporters, the 25-year-old has carried his amazing form into the Copa America. Pulisic was the chief orchestrator of USA’s victory over Bolivia, scoring the first goal early on with a spectacular strike from the edge of the box before teeing up Balogun for the second just before half time. Pulisic was a central figure for the USMNT for the whole duration of the game. Talk about leading from the front! 

3. Folarin Balogun ends barren streak

Balogun had gone six USMNT games without finding the back of the net, heading into the game against Bolivia so it was understandable when his confidence appeared shaky in the first half. However, just before halftime, when Pulisic slipped a pass to him, any signs of uncertainty vanished as he noticed no one in a red shirt was attempting to close him down. Balogun composed himself and delivered a precise left-footed strike past Guillermo Viscarra into the corner of the net.

4. Strong return for Tyler Adams

The AFC Bournemouth midfielder was limited to 121 Premier League minutes and has been sparsely involved with his national team due to injuries. Adams was afforded 45 minutes in the game and 25-year-old displayed his usual form, being tidy in possession (completing 32 of his 37 pass attempts) and aggressively proactive out of it. For the U.S. to make a deep run in this tournament, they will almost certainly need Adams to anchor the midfield in crucial moments.

5. Missed chances

The USMNT could easily have won the game by a greater margin but Berhalter’s side was handicapped by poor finishing, Balogun and Ricardo Pepi being notable culprits in this regard. The Monaco forward spurned a good chance to put USA ahead just 20 seconds into the game but eventually redeemed himself by doubling the host’s lead in the first half. Meanwhile ,Pepi, who was a second half substitute, also missed four decent chances to extend USA’s lead. In a tournament where the goal differential tiebreaker could come into play, the USMNT will feel they should’ve done better.