Puerto Rico was probably seen as a push over, sitting at 152nd in the latest FIFA world rankings, but the Blue Hurricane gave the U.S. Men’s National Team plenty to think about on Sunday afternoon.
The USMNT picked up a 3-1 victory over Puerto Rico in the first of three friendlies leading up to next month’s Copa America Centenario behind a brilliant effort from Paul Arriola is his U.S. senior team debut.
Arriola capped off an excellent afternoon with the USMNT’s third goal in the 56th minute, after grabbing an assist on the team’s second which came just after the half hour mark.
Fresh off of a superb season with 2.Bundesliga side Union Berlin, Bobby Wood continued his impressive goalscoring run on Sunday. The 23-year-old attacker was the recipient of Arriola’s assist after making a long run upfield and finishing the chance.
The U.S. opened the scoring in the 20th minute, when Tim Ream finished off a rebound. Alfredo Morales hit a powerful strike from outside the 18-yard box, forcing goalkeeper Matthew Sanchez into a diving save, but Ream was there to blast it home.
An onslaught of U.S. possession in the opening 45 minutes gave Puerto Rico very few opportunities on the ball, but Luis Betancur made the most of his chance just minutes before halftime. The Florida International forward received a pass from Joseph Marrero and hit a left-footed strike that stunned Brad Guzan at the near post.
The Blue Hurricane came out strong to start the second-half, and almost leveled the match at 2-2 when Manolo Sanchez got ahold of his volley in the 48th minute. The San Antonio FC midfielder was left wide open at the far post but his one-timer narrowly missed the target.
The USMNT will continue their buildup to the Copa America on Wednesday when they meet CONMEBOL nation Ecuador.