Player ratings: Pulisic 8/10 as USMNT open Copa with win

ARLINGTON, Texas — The United States men’s national team opened its 2024 Copa America campaign on home soil with a 2-0 victory over Bolívia at AT&T Stadium on Sunday.

Christian Pulisic opened the scoring in the third minute with a bending shot that evaded a diving Guillermo Viscarra in goal. Pulisic decided to play the USMNT’s corner kick quickly to Timothy Weah, who returned the ball to Pulisic on the overlap for the finish.

The USMNT scored a second goal just before half-time despite generating only 0.38 expected goals in the first 45 minutes. Pulisic floated into a central space to get on the ball, turned, and played it to an overlapping Folarin Balogun to extend the hosts’ lead.

The Americans squandered several opportunities to score in the second half and, despite a sometimes-sloppy performance, the result never looked in doubt.

Manager rating (scale of 1-10)

Gregg Berhalter, 7 — Made two changes from the 1-1 draw with Brazil ln June 12, one of which was getting Tyler Adams his first start since March, which allows the midfielder to grow into the tournament with tougher opponents ahead. Berhalter’s other change was starting Balogun at striker and, while AS Monaco star struggled at times, he delivered the crucial second goal for his manager.

Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best, players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)

GK Matt Turner, 6 — Turner wasn’t called upon often. He was steady in playing the ball out of the back, although his long distribution let him down at one point in the second half.

DF Antonee Robinson, 8 — Robinson grew into the match, getting forward and providing options on the left wing. His consistent overlaps should have been rewarded with an assist if not for Ricardo Pepi missing a sitter in the second half.

DF Tim Ream, 7 — Ream gave away possession cheaply on three occasions in the opening 21 minutes, but in between those moments played a perfect long ball to Robinson down the left flank. Ream also got caught in possession late in the match. He was rarely called upon in defensive moments against a tepid Bolivia attack and stepped high to win balls when needed.

DF Chris Richards, 4 — Richards consistently gave away the ball under little or no pressure and was responsible for sparking several Bolivia counter-attacks. Richards’ passes went straight to an opponent on several occasions throughout each half, one of which led to Weston McKennie having to take a yellow card that could prove costly later in the tournament.

DF Joe Scally, 6 — Mishit a diagonal under no pressure on multiple occasions in the first half, then miscommunicated with McKennie and let the ball run out of bounds before slicing another pass out of play. His second half was steadier and redeeming.

MF Tyler Adams, 6 — Adams had a decent showing in his first start for the USMNT since the Concacaf Nations League final in March. There were signs of rust in his 45-minute spell, including hitting a ball out of bounds 18 minutes into the match, but he also had a nice combination with McKennie early in the game.

MF Weston McKennie, 6 — Struggled to find the ball throughout the first half, frequently popping into wide positions. McKennie had a couple of well delayed runs to earn a pair of corners in the first 26 minutes and got into slightly more advanced positions in the second half. His yellow card was necessary but could be a problem with bigger games ahead.

MF Giovanni Reyna, 7 — He wasn’t electric, but he was subtly in the right places to dribble at defenders and earn fouls in dangerous areas on multiple occasions. The foul he drew in the 27th minute particularly rattled Bolivia and started a small scuffle. Reyna also tracked back into his own box to prevent one of Bolivia’s better sequences after Robinson got beat on the wing.

FW Christian Pulisic, 8 — Man of the match for the USMNT, not just for the early goal that set the tone, but for his ability to break out of pressure and combine with teammates. Pulisic floated into central areas to find ball and serve as a playmaker despite his team’s struggles connecting passes on the day. He was unlucky not to score a second goal.

FW Folarin Balogun, 6 — He scored the second goal of the match, which redeemed an otherwise poor half that included giveaways and a bizarre play in which he beat his defender and got to the byline but attempted to cross the ball with a behind-the-leg trick. The cross sailed out of bounds. Balogun’s goal was the result of a nice, peeling run to create space, and a solid finish.

FW Timothy Weah, 7 — Active early down the right flank, and crafty on the ball to get out of pressure when needed. He pulled a shot from a tight angle in the second half on a promising attack.

Substitutes

MF Yunus Musah, 7 — Brought good energy going forward off the bench and cleaned up a dangerous Bolivia opportunity in the 59th minute after Richards inexplicably tried to dribble out of a double team.

MF Johnny Cardoso, 6 — Unremarkable performance in midfield that helped close out the game.

FW Ricardo Pepi, 6 — Missed a sitter from seven yards out just seconds after entering the match. He had another, more difficult chance to score 12 minutes later but placed his shot too central. He was then denied twice from close range on a pair of spectacular saves. He did everything but score.

MF Luca de la Torre NR — Came in for McKennie to lock down the result and was hardly challenged by Bolivia’s midfield.

FW Brenden Aaronson NR — Came on in the final few minutes for Weah.