The United States Men's National Team will take on Bolivia on Saturday, May 28th in Kansas City. This international friendly will be the final match for both teams before the Copa America Centenario.
The U.S. has won its past two games (against Puerto Rico and Ecuador) and will be looking to carry a three-game winning streak into its opening Copa America match.
Bolivia is playing its first match since March 29th and has struggled early in South American 2018 World Cup Qualifying. La Verde is currently ninth in qualifying out of the ten CONMEBOL teams and has not won a match since November 13th, 2015.
Bolivia has struggled historically and is currently ranked 79th in the world. It rarely wins away from the Estadio Hernando Siles, which at an altitude of 11,932 ft above sea level, is one of the highest soccer stadiums in the world.
Bolivia lacks true international stars, with the majority of its roster consisting of players who ply their trade in the Liga de Fútbol Profesional Boliviano. Bolivia tends to play very defensively and look for its formation to be either a 5-4-1 or 4-5-1.
The backline will be led by 31 year-old veteran left-back Luis Alberto Gutíerrez. Gutíerrez plays for Hapoel Ironi Kiryat Shmona in the Israeli League and is the second most capped player (41) on the Bolivian roster.
The Bolivian offense will rely on New York Cosmos striker Yasmani Duk. While Duk has struggled to get on the field for the Cosmos he remains the best option for this weak Bolivian side.
For the U.S., one roster change of note; Edgar Castillo has been called into camp to replace Timmy Chandler, who has withdrawn from the squad due to injury. Castillo is the only natural leftback on the roster and his presence could allow America to push Fabian Johnson into the midfield where he play for his club.
Goalkeepers (3): Brad Guzan (Aston Villa), Tim Howard (Colorado Rapids), Ethan Horvath (Molde IK)
Defenders (8): Matt Besler (Sporting Kansas City), Steve Birnbaum (D.C. United), John Brooks (Hertha Berlin), Geoff Cameron (Stoke City), Edgar Castillo (C.F. Monterrey), Fabian Johnson (Borussia Moenchengladbach), Michael Orozco (Club Tijuana), DeAndre Yedlin (Tottenham Hotspur)
Midfielders (8): Kyle Beckerman (Real Salt Lake), Alejandro Bedoya (Nantes), Michael Bradley (Toronto FC), Jermaine Jones (Colorado Rapids), Perry Kitchen (Heart of Midlothian), Darlington Nagbe (Portland Timbers), Christian Pulisic (Borussia Dortmund), Graham Zusi (Sporting Kansas City).
Forwards (4): Clint Dempsey (Seattle Sounders FC), Chris Wondolowski (San Jose Earthquakes), Bobby Wood (Hamburg SV), Gyasi Zardes (Los Angeles Galaxy).
Goalkeepers: Carlos Lampe (Sport Boys), Romel Quiñónez (Bolívar), Guillermo Viscarra (Oriente Petrolero)
Defenders: Ronald Eguino (Bolívar), Nelson Cabrera (Bolívar), Erwin Saavedra (Bolívar), Diego Bejarano (The Strongest), Edward Zenteno (Wilstermann), Marvin Bejarano (Oriente Petrolero), Luis Gutiérrez (Hapoel Ironi Kiryat Shmona)
Midfielders: Walter Veizaga (The Strongest), Raúl Castro (The Strongest), Fernando Saucedo (Wilstermann) Cristhian Machado (Wilstermann), Pedro Azogue (Oriente Petrolero), Alejandro Meleán (Oriente Petrolero), Samuel Galindo (Petrolero), Jhasmani Campos (Kazma), Martin Smedberg-Dalence (IFK Goteborg)
Forwards: Rodrigo Ramallo (The Strongest), Juan Carlos Arce (Bolívar), Bruno Miranda (Universidad de Chile), Yasmani Duk (New York Cosmos)
U.S. Projected Lineup:
The U.S. will be expected to win this match, but Jurgen Klinsmann faces several tough lineup decisions. Klinsmann will want to deploy a starting XI similar to the one that will feature in the Copa America opener; however he needs to avoid exhausting players as this will be the second of three matches in ten days.
Bobby Wood, Darlington Nagbe, and Christian Pulisic are all but guaranteed to start as a result of their excellent offensive play in the match against Ecuador. Pulisic will start either in wide or central midfield, but seems more likely to play on the wing given the U.S. wingers' struggles against Ecuador.
Nagbe should start in central midfield and will likely partner with Michael Bradley. Don't be surprised to see Jermaine Jones absent from the lineup in order for him to rest for the Copa America opener.
At left midfield, Graham Zusi or Alejandro Bedoya will start. Zusi had an okay, but ultimately underwhelming performance on Wednesday. Bedoya could be given an opportunity to play and show Klinsmann whether he is worthy of being a regular starter.
In defense, DeAndre Yedlin and Fabian Johnson should start at right and left back respectively. However, Klinsmann may choose to rest Johnson, as he came into training camp with a slight injury and went through a grueling campaign for Borussia Mönchengladbach. This would likely allow for recent addition Edgar Castillo to get the start.
Jonathan Brooks was one of the best players on the field for the U.S. against Ecuador and helped to cover for Steve Birnbaum's mistakes. Brooks should start again and if Geoff Cameron is healthy, he should also be in the starting XI. Cameron is arguably the best USMNT centerback, but has been dealing with an injury for the last few weeks.
Bolivia is one of the weakest sides in the Copa America and should not provide much of a test for the United States. Like the Ecuador match, this game won't be played at 100% intensity as players will be attempting to conserve energy for the Copa America games next week.
I expect the USMNT to continue its winning run with a 2-0 victory.