USA beats Puerto Rico in Copa America warm-up

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MIAMI: Bobby Wood, Tim Ream and Paul Arriola scored to give the United States a 3-1 victory at Puerto Rico in an international friendly on Sunday (Monday in Manila).

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In their opening tune-up for next month’s Copa America Centenario, the Americans dominated their first-ever match against a team trying to make inroads against the more popular baseball and basketball on the Caribbean island.

“We hope the keep playing well and reach our peak for the Copa,” Wood said.

Ream opened the scoring in the 20th minute, reacting first after Alfredo Morales’ shot, before blasting a left-footed effort past Puerto Rico goalkeeper Matt Sanchez.

It was the first goal in 21 US appearances for the Fulham defender.

Wood gave the Americans a 2-0 lead in the 34th minute, fighting off two defenders on a charge into the area, and flicking the ball over a sprawled Sanchez.

Home suppporters booed Wood for not kicking the ball out of play with two Puerto Rico players down on the turf.

“They had two players down and kept attacking us until they turned the ball over,” Wood said. “If they kept playing on then we keep playing on.”

Puerto Rico, 152nd in the FIFA rankings, responded in the 42nd minute, as Luis Betancur’s left-footed shot flew over US keeper Brad Guzan.

Arriola, a forward for Mexico’s Club Tijuana, scored his first US goal in the 56th minute of his debut from Alejandro Bedoya’s cross.

Hamburg striker Wood is the only forward among 10 US players facing Puerto Rico who are also on the 23-man Copa roster announced Saturday by coach Jurgen Klinsmann.

“It’s a good exercise because they have to push themselves,” Klinsmann said. “It’s exactly what we wanted. Hopefully it will help us moving forward to Copa America.”

The Americans play host to Ecuador on Wednesday at Dallas and Bolivia on Saturday at Kansas City in other Copa warm-up matches.

The hosts open the 100th anniversary edition of the South American tournament on June 3 against Colombia.

AFP

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