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Young USMNT stars shine in impressive win over Bolivia


Given the chance to shine in Monday’s friendly, the U.S. Men’s National Team’s youngest stars impressed in a 3-0 win over Bolivia.

Teenagers Josh Sargent and Timothy Weah joined defender Walker Zimmerman in scoring first international goals as the U.S. cruised past an overmatched Bolivia, 3-0, at Talon Energy Stadium. The win is USMNT’s second straight victory over South American opposition following the March win over Paraguay.

Following a number of solid sequences and a few close calls, Zimmerman skied above his man to give the USMNT the lead in the 37th minute. The LAFC defender was on the end of a Joe Corona corner kick, giving the U.S. a much-needed breakthrough late in a first half that saw them control the play.

The second half saw sustained dominance and more goals with both Sargent and Weah collecting their first international finishes. Sargent’s goal came in the 52nd minute as the Werder Bremen forward forced a turnover from goalkeeper Carlos Lampe and then buried the ensuing shot.

Weah’s finish was significantly prettier thanks to some strong work from Antonee Robinson. After beating his man down the left-hand side, Robinson whipped in a cross to a surging Weah, who smashed a shot first time to push the lead to 3-0.

From the beginning, the U.S. was the more active and creative side, and that creativity yielded a number of solid opportunities. Many came down the right-hand side featuring Weah, who shook off an early injury while becoming a handful in wide areas.

Weah linked up particularly well with Sargent, combining on a number of one-twos, while Rubio Rubin and Weah linked up on one of the better USMNT chances within the opening 15 minutes.

The second half saw Sargent and Weah come out to a loud ovations. Keaton Parks joined the fray in the 61st minute, making his USMNT debut, while Matthew Olosunde also earned his first cap as a substitute in the second half. Overall, all six uncapped players named to the gameday squad earned at least 20 minutes of game time in the 3-0 win.

Next up for the USMNT is a clash with Ireland on Saturday before a friendly against France that serves as Les Bleus’ World Cup sendoff.


  1. The guys looked good yesterday. Our lineup going forward, IMO


    • I like the player selections, but think am thinking a slightly different formation….

      Let McKennie act as the 8 joining the attack while Adams acts as the 6 sitting a little deeper.
      If healthy Brooks will likely be the starting LCB with either Miazga or CCV as the RCB. But since he’s had so many injuries this year, I understand putting CCV as the starter.
      Weah & Pulisic can both play either wing so it doesn’t matter where you line them up. Having the option of bringing Saief & Green in off the bench could really provide some depth to the attack. Still holding out that Gooch could be a solid contributor as well. Kid plays with a chip on his shoulder, and may be better suited for the physical CONCACAF away fixtures.
      Another bench option is K. Acosta at the CDM spot, if McKennie or Adam need to be subbed out.

  2. A little reckless at times but McKennie wasn’t afraid to be that physical defending box-to-box midfielder….Definitely putting some bite into that position….

  3. A couple of days ago I wrote that the US should dominate possession and the game and if they didn’t, we have real problems. Well, they did dominate and I see some people already getting carried away. Even Bolivia’s first team is weak, getting points at home because they play at 12,000 feet. Even Argentina lost there once by a score of something like 6-0. Have you ever been at 12,000 feet? It is hard to even hike, and running is almost impossible if you are not acclimated. In response to some of the remarks above, yes we have played worse teams than this. In the past we have played teams like Belize in CONCACAF matches and won by scores like 7-0. Playing a bad team at home really tells you next to nothing about how good you are. Still there are encouraging signs, but there is no reason to get cocky. I like Robinson’s speed and it would be nice if we finally had a LB we could count on. Hopefully he could be that guy. I had thought of Green as a striker, but he looked awfully good as a distributor. Central midfield could be his best position and he could be a real asset in the future. I am not as impressed with Parks as so many others are here. He tried to do too much on his own, IMO, and seemed to be a bit of a selfish player. I don’t think he looked any better than a number of other options we have, but he’s still very young and we need to see more of him and he needs to progress with his club. The main problem in the 2nd half was players trying to do too much on their own, but since we were ahead 3-0 by the time that happened, it didn’t matter much and that’s probably why the players did it too often. I like Rubin because he is direct and always looking forward, almost never going backwards in his passes or dribbles. We need more of that. But he was often guilty of trying to do too much and trying to dazzle when simple play was called for,.

    • The French WC roster should be as real a test at Stade de France as a friendly can provide. I have more confidence in this group than I do in BA’s WCQ roster. These guys may lack experience — and a team like France could easily expose that — but they are fearless, physical, and fast.

      • France is awfully good. If they can keep away from internal dissension, they are as good as almost any national team. Since this is only a tune up friendly, we may be able to make a game of it, but I won’t be surprised if we lose by 2-0 or 3-0.

    • American observers need to get over this “that guy was selfish” nonsense. The best players in the world are selfish because they want to make the play. We have had such a long history of timid pushovers that American fans think that being a timid pushover is an admirable quality.

      Weah, Parks…these guys come from blue blood clubs where you literally have to beat out your teammate to make the roster. You have to be selfish.

      Bring on the selfish players and wave goodbye to the timid pushovers. Its time to kill off the Culture of Timid Pushovers and start expecting our soccer players to have the same killer instinct as Michael Jordan or Tom Brady.

  4. It will be hard to tell how good these guys are until they face more challenging competition. I thought on the day Robinson, Zimmerman and McKinnie were the best US players.

    I thought no one had a bad game, except perhaps Pulisic who looked somewhat tentative when challenging for 50-50 balls and was unable to pull off anything truly exceptional. Maybe I just had my expectations for him set too high.

    Sargent made a couple passes in the first half that really unlocked teammates for scoring chances and looked to be more than just a goal-scorer.

    Green looked good when he came in. He certainly looks to have added some muscle mass in the last couple years that should help him. He is very skillful on the ball, but now seemed to have a better sense of his defensive responsibilities than in the past.

    I was glad Olosunde got a chance, he looked a bit timid, but looks to have the physical tools and made no defensive mistakes.

    Of course, overall the US was much more athletic and bigger than Bolivia; A lot of the assessments will change when the opposition is better.

    • I wonder how much we’ll see CP in the next two matches. Sarachan even remarked “he looked like a guy who needs time off” or something to that effect.
      I think Ireland should be a good test, their roster has some vets that people will know like John O’Shea and Shane Long, but then a lot of guys with under 10 caps that play in the Championship.
      France may beat us 4-0 and that’s ok

      • CP won’t be travelling with the team to Europe, that was established before camp kicked off! There will also be more subtractions, followed by some additions to the roster for France and Ireland

  5. wow, i am SO HAPPY! i just saw the extended highlights of the game. wow, i saw NEW FACES. i saw SKILLZ. i saw CREATIVITY. i saw ENERGY. i saw a bazillion things that i hadn’t seen in a long time in usmnt games. wow, what an exciting group of young players we had out there! i feel satisfied that i have just seen the face (faces, literally) of our new usmnt and i like it!

    weah heads it on to sargent, sargent gives it back to weah, weah crosses it in for rubin who shoots…
    pulisic corner right on the money to mckinnie…
    zimmerman interception and clearance out to rubin, rubin brings it down with skill and gives it to weah, weah shoots…
    mckennie to sargent (posted up), knocks it back to corona, corona gives it to pulisic, pulisic out wide to weah, weah gives it back to corona drifting in, corona shoots…
    mckennie interception and clearance out to weah, weah collects and works it to sargent, sargent crosses low for mckennie who mistimes a shot, rebound rubin who also fires…
    sargent runs onto a loose ball, sargent gives and goes with weah, sargent gets it back and sargent shoots…
    bono sends long to weah, weah flicks it on to sargent, sargent plays a give and go with weah, sargent shoots…
    corona (i think) corner to zimmerman, zimmerman header SCORES!


    weah, sargent, rubin, pulisic, mckennie + others. this is easily the MOST EXCITING TEAM we have put on the field in YEARS. maybe since korea/japan in 2002 when you had young alexi lalases and landon donovans running around on the field? it feels like/reminds me of that generation when they were all young.

  6. “skied above his man”, “forced a turnover”, “beating his man down the left hand side”, “whipped in a cross” and “smashed a shot first-time”. wow, these are some of the words i want to read after a usmnt match. now, that’s more like it! thanks, dave sarachan!

  7. “Overall, all six uncapped players named to the gameday squad earned at least 20 minutes of game time in the 3-0 win.”

    well done, dave sarachan. thumbs way up.

    • I think CP would have been more comfortable on the wing in the 4-1-4-1. That’s where he played in the formation for BvB. With Bruce he played much higher up the pitch as a CM, I think you saw him trying really to stay connected with Corona and McKennie. Their #10 did a nice job of frustrating him early.

      • Agreed, he just looked disconnected and tired. Not worried about him though. Glad to see the younger guys out there excited to play.

  8. McKinnie is the second coming of Jermaine Jones. I mean that in the best and worst possible sense. He plays with tons of bite and vision, but can also be reckless with some of his challenges. The good news is that he’s still a teenager while JJ was still picking up dumb fouls and cards in his 30’s…

    • I was thinking the same thing…same build, same reckless challenges, same bite. And yeah, the same yelping from the opponents and hard stares – and finally the same cardings – from the ref. Some of those challenges he maybe…should not have made.

      Admire the competitiveness. Vicious, mean-spirited tackler. Love it. But dude. Also: watch it. You’re walking a MIGHTY thin line, there, my man….

      But My God are our youngsters about a million miles ahead of where the last gen was at the same point. For all the hand-waving about how bad Bolivia was…anybody realize they’re ranked 57th in the world? Ahead of Honduras, Japan, South Korea, Ecuador, Russia, Ivory Coast…and oh, yeah, WAY ahead of T&T, who sit 92nd in the world.

      • Yes and no about Bolivia, most of their “top players” were left off the list because their league is having playoffs and their roster has gotten very old, plus a guy in China and one in Liga Mx. Almost all of their results come at home in La Paz. They earned all 14 of their qualification points at home going 0-0-9 on the road not even getting a draw. In 2018 they are 0-1-2 with a draw and a loss to Curacao and the loss to the US.

      • C’mon quozzel. That particular Bolivia side had nothing to do with the side ranked 57th in the world (which as johnnyrazor points out, is highly generous anyway). Did you watch the game? Be honest…. no way a guy as smart as you makes an argument this dumb….

      • Oh, I know those weren’t the Bolivia A-squad guys.That was mostly Bolivia’s U23 squad with some older guys mixed in.

        But then, wasn’t that what we were playing? Pretty sure we could have walked that exact same squad we played last night into the Olympics ourselves.

        Just saying, that wasn’t a total chump program. I was actually more than a bit surprised how badly we outclassed them last night…they could barely get in a kick for the first 75 minutes or so.

        Our young guys are twice as talented as our older gen, is all I’m saying.

      • I understand that it’s a careful line to walk when you’re playing the 6, but once you get whistled a few times in a span of 15 minutes, and you get that look from the ref, you need to back off just a hair, or at least cool it for a few minutes before the next rough challenge. Obviously every ref has a different tolerance level; that’s where experience will be huge for McKinnie

  9. Saw up until the 3rd goal and then had to put the kids to bed. Overall a good showing nothing particularly bad. Robinson reminded me of Yedlin, not the most sound defensively but with speed to recover, not sure that will be enough against France, but we don’t play France every day. There certainly were times when the youngsters got outmuscled, but that’s too be expected. I thought Rubin played better than expected. Zimmerman and EPB didn’t have much to do.
    I thought Bolivia looked dangerous for about 5 minutes until Weah got in behind a couple times and then it was pretty much sitting behind the ball and watch the clock tick. Similar to what these guys will face in say the first round of qualifying at home, having to break down a bunkered defense. The next two matches will tell us a lot more, kind of wish they wouldn’t really change much other than maybe Steffan, Adams (if fit enough), Gall, and Yedlin (let Brooks rest).
    Also, whoever it was that said that Carleton is better than Weah because how much could he have progressed since U17 WC a month or two ago? Well having watched quite a bit of Carleton in the USL its not even close but a lot of that has to just do with the athleticism of Weah.
    Having missed the last 35 minutes how did the subs look?

    • To answer your final question, most of the subs looked good, though I found it interesting that there was a certain selfishness about them (particularly Gooch and Parks) that I actually didn’t mind. You could see the eagerness to impress very clearly. Gooch probably should’ve had a goal but couldn’t get the ball out from his feet cleanly.

      • I thought that Gooch was selfish while Parks was not. Gooch took at least 4 shots by my count. Not sure if Parks had 4 or 3 shots. Gooch had open guys on three of his shots with the unselfish one (the cutback which was blocked by the defender before he shot the rebound wide). We also don’t know if Parks was told to have a go from distance or not. His accuracy was wanting. IMO, he did more to bolster his image than Gooch. To be fair, I think he got 12 more minutes or so, but I think he has a bright future and is highly rated by Benefica. If he doesn’t make the first team, they need to loan him out. My recommendation would be the Eredivisie or Ligue 1. He needs at least 20 appearances or more a year with a first team rather than continue with Benefica B.

      • Parks was interesting. Green looked ok but I think out of position. Gooch stunk, not sure what you watched. Novakovich didn’t do much.

    • Parks is very talented. I think Pulisic ends up in Rubin’s spot, and Parks, Mckinnie and probably Adams run the midfield. Mckinnie had to do too much tonight in the center when stopping Bolivia’s transition. Better midfield shape and control, combined with that attack, and the U.S. could have something.

    • razor – outside of his finish, Weah was horrible! In all honesty, we have no evidence that he is anywhere close to PSG’s first team. Judging Carleton for essentially playing poorly [he has not; see below] in sporadic performances for essentially a U19 team playing against seasoned pros is not doing him justice. He has actually not been bad as he shows his quality whenever he gets time on the ball. However, this has been the first time in his career that he has had to navigate defenses so compact, defensive minded, and full of older/stronger men. If he had played against that Bolivia squad, he would have looked like a star. Similarly, if he got minutes for PSG with that talent around him, he would look every bit the part of a starter next to Pulisic, McKennie, Adams, Sargent, etc.

      • Don: I realize those things that you point out and I think ATL2 should try Andrew in the middle, but we are going to have to agree to disagree. I’ve watched a lot of LAG 2 and Llanez, Mendez and Alvarez are also playing on the U19 squad and they are playing better than AC. Yes, they have more to work with maybe than ATL2 but they have Goslin and Kunga so it’s not like complete schmucks on that squad. Do you know what happened to Bello he was playing earlier but hasn’t been on the roster of late?

      • Much respect, johnny. You add the most to the comment sections than anyone else. I think discussing Los Dos and ATL2 is actually a really interesting conversation. They both have some serious prospects when it comes to international play, and they are both essentially U19 teams. One key difference is that Los Dos has been around for a little while longer, so their roster is more cohesive, but I don’t think their talent is dissimilar. The biggest difference (ie, the reason LA2 look better than ATL2) is the competition. The teams in the eastern conference of the USL are better than than teams in the west. Cinti, Louisville, Charlotte, Pittsburgh, etc. provide a much more rugged schedule than the likes of the western conference teams that Los Dos are tearing up. Regardless, let’s hope that Alvarez comes back to the US, and we continue to have these conversations of numerous numbers of youth stars.

      • No idea about Bello other than that he is still really young, and they could be just easing him into his professional career a bit.

      • If look you at ATL2 against other MLS teams I think they’re 2-0. I would agree the traditional teams in the USL East are better and I think the MLS teams are better in the west. Los Dos plays no defense but they are fun to watch.

  10. Well I suppose any analysis of the performance must come with an acknowledgement of how truly terrible that Bolivia side was. (Really the most hopeless opponent I’ve ever seen us play and that goes back to about 1990. Unworthy of even the weakest Gold Cups).

    But, remembering that you can only play the side in front of you…. Loved what I saw. Too much to enumerate. Hope to see many of these guys get more looks… if we can put in a credible performance with whatever side we send out against France in their WC send-off match, then I’ll be really amped — for the first time in a while. And even if we get hosed (and we might if we are honest), we are still getting a lot of good information about exactly what we have to work with.

    And one more thing. An unpopular shout out for the guy with the thankless job. Dave Sarachan has had the youngsters excited to play– and playing some semblance of organized team soccer– at every time of asking. He’s done all you can want of an interim coach with literally zero chance of being hired and the stench of the recent failure still hanging over him (deservedly or not). Good for you dude.

    • I agree, you can’t get too carried away with this game because the competition was pretty weak. As the commentators said, nobody did themselves a disservice. I thought that Robinson looked good at LB. Unless I’m missing someone he might claim this spot over Villafana. I also liked Green in limited minutes, he was very composed and active. He’s been looked at as a winger, but Sarachan played him in the center, and he didn’t look out of place there. Maybe an upgrade over Nagbe. Sargent and Weah looked good and both finished their goals well. I liked Parks, maybe not so much for his performance but for the fact that he’s a big guy with some skill and composure, a nice package for center midfield. Zimmerman was good and scored a nice goal, but he’s in a tough spot competing against Brooks, CCV and Miazga. Palmer-Brown didn’t do anything wrong, but was entirely anonymous due to the lack of serious attacking by the Bolivians.

      • Kellyn Acosta should be our first team LB. Our midfield is deep enough without him there, and his ability to control the pace of the game like a midfielder from that deep/wing position is crucial. His 1v1 defense is a strength of his and would be an asset in that position as well.

    • That was fun stuff. We may just be looking at some of the American golden generation there.

      The first reason I was excited: central midfield. McKennie was off and he was still positive. Parks is smooth…every touch is purposeful and intended to open space up somewhere on the field. Parks is an elite level prospect…you can see why Benfica thinks hes worth rolling out with the first team. Dude is an excellent passer. He has excellent touch for a guy of that size and he has a really high soccer IQ. Hes the ice to McKennies fire. Thats a partnership that needs to be developed from here forward.

      This is beginning to look like a high-IQ generation. Sargent, Adams, Parks, McKennie, Weah…

      • Adding Adams for Corona vastly improves the team. Watching the game, the combination of youth and speed was very exciting and hopeful for the future. To repeat a cliché, you can’t teach speed. Easier to teach tactics to speedy players than it is to expect slow guys to suddenly develop the speed to cover guys or make runs behind the defense.

        Rubin wasn’t terrible, but he was the least impressive guy IMO on the pitch. Replace him with someone else like Saief or move Pulisic back to wing.

      • My only question on Parks is speed that game up and does he handle it.

        I do think this is an important generation coming up and the issue is going to be do Sarachan and his successor have the guts to clear the driftwood away out in front of it, or are we going to have a farce where I have to hear people pimp Villafana, Acosta, Nagbe, and other passe half cooked people of the missing generation that couldn’t make the world cup.

        I think there are only certain positions like forward (Wood) where older players currently have an edge. Otherwise, this is a generation coming up that is pretty technical and athletic.

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