Paul Arriola has goal and assist in winning debut for U.S. soccer team
Paul Arriola had a goal and an assist in his national team debut, Tim Ream and Bobby Wood also scored, and the United States started its Copa America preparations with a 3-1 win over Puerto Rico in an exhibition game Sunday.
Arriola, a 21-year-old from Chula Vista, Calif., who plays for Tijuana in Mexico, is not on the tournament roster but was among players called in for a training camp while regulars remained with the Major League Soccer teams through the weekend.
After Ream put the U.S. ahead in the 20th minute with his first international goal, Arriola fed Wood in the 34th for a 2-0 lead, Wood’s fifth goal in 18 national team games.
Luis Betancur cut Puerto Rico’s deficit in the 42nd against Brad Guzan, designated the first-choice goalkeeper by U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann on Saturday. Arriola restored the two-goal lead in the 56th when he tapped a cross from Alejandro Bedoya into an open goal with his left foot from two yards.
Bedoya, who captained the U.S. for the first time, limped off in the 63rd minute with a sore right ankle.
The U.S., tied for 29th in the FIFA rankings, had about 80 percent possession in the first half in its first game against Puerto Rico, which is tied for 152nd.
Defenders Fabian Johnson and Geoff Cameron, both rehabbing leg injuries, remained in the continental U.S. and will rejoin the team on Monday in Texas ahead of Wednesday’s exhibition against Ecuador in Frisco. The U.S. also plays Bolivia on Saturday at Kansas City, Kansas.
The U.S. Soccer Federation went ahead with this game despite concern about the Zika virus, which led Major League Baseball to shift a two-game series between the Marlins and Pittsburgh Pirates from Puerto Rico back to Miami.
On an afternoon with 88-degree heat and 58 percent humidity at kickoff, Ream scored his first goal in 21 international appearances. After Alfredo Morales’ 30-yard effort was parried by Matthew Sanchez, Ream drove in the rebound with an angled left-footed shot from outside the six-yard box.
Wood doubled the lead when, with two Puerto Rican players down on the field, he ran onto a pass from Arriola. Wood took a pair of touches as he went around Emmanuel D’Andrea and lifted the ball over Sanchez from seven yards. Fans booed the U.S. for not kicking the ball out of play.
Betancur, a 21-year-old forward who played for Florida International last fall, cut the deficit in the 42nd minute with a 23-yard shot over Guzan’s outstretched left hand after the Ream turned over the ball on a throw-in and Joseph Marrero’s pass split the defense.
Tim Howard took over from Guzan at the beginning of the second half, only his second substitute appearance along with 106 starts. Defender Matt Miazga and midfielder Emerson Hyndman made their second international appearances when they entered for the second half.
Fabrice Picault, a 25-year-old forward, made his U.S. debut when he came in for Wood in the 71st minute. Eric Lichaj replaced Bedoya in his first appearance since November 2013, and Julian Green made his first appearance since 2014.
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