First Touch

USMNT Start Copa America With Win Over Bolivia

A sensational third-minute goal from captain Christian Pulisic helped fuel the USMNT to a 2-0 shutout victory against Bolivia and a rousing start to the 2024 Copa América on Sunday evening at AT&T Stadium.

The United States Men’s National Team was in full control during its Group C debut at AT&T Stadium and Pulisic was the catalyst. He opened the scoring after just 141 seconds had elapsed and then orchestrated a late first-half goal by Folarin Balogun that effectively put the match out of reach.

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Bolivia midfielder Hector Cuellar (22) and United States forward Christian Pulisic (10) in action. Photo: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

USA 2 Bolivia 0

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A crowd of 47,873 saw the USMNT kick off its fifth participation in the prestigious competition, which was launched in 1916 and is being played in the United States for the second time. Pulisic, the only member of the current squad to appear in that tournament, looked appropriately comfortable at kickoff on Sunday.

First Half

The USA won an early corner kick and instead of playing it toward the six-yard box, Pulisic touched it short to Tim Weah and then jogged toward the upper left corner of the penalty area. Weah returned the ball and Pulisic took a touch to his right before lashing an inch-perfect, curling blast that flew just out of reach of Bolivia goalkeeper Guillermo Viscarra. As a 17-year-old, Pulisic scored his debut USMNT goal against the same netminder during a 2016 friendly. On Sunday, Pulisic tallied his 30th goal, pulling him alongside Brian McBride at fifth on the all-time list.


Now 25 and coming off a career season at AC Milan, Pulisic has reached 30 goals in a USMNT-record 69 caps. He’s the second-youngest player to hit that milestone, behind only Landon Donovan.


The Americans remained in command as the match settled down and as Bolivia, ranked 84th in the world, bent but refused to break. As halftime approached, the USA’s dominance in possession finally paid off. Pulisic was the instigator again in the 44th minute, drifting centrally and dropping a bit deeper to receive a feed from Gio Reyna, who put in an effective two-way performance. Pulisic turned and dribbled through the heart of the Bolivian half, drawing several defenders toward him before feeding an open Balogun on the left. The AS Monaco striker’s left-footed finish, on his third shot of the period, marked his fourth goal in a U.S. jersey and first of 2024.

Folarin Balogun (20) and defender Kristoffer Lund (23) celebrates after Balogun scores. Photo: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Second Half

A third goal seemed likely as the USA remained on the front foot after halftime, but Viscarra made several excellent saves. He denied Pulisic in the 60th and substitute striker Ricardo Pepi in the 79th and 80th minutes, and then again on the doorstep in the closing seconds.


That third goal wasn’t needed, however, as the Americans never let Bolivia establish any sort of rhythm going forward. The U.S. back four of Antonee Robinson, Tim Ream, Chris Richards and Joe Scally—starting together for the third straight game—looked comfortable. Bolivia took only a single touch all game inside the U.S. penalty area and goalie Matt Turner had only three relatively routine saves to make on the way to another shutout. Celebrating his 30th birthday one day early, Turner notched his 25th clean sheet in only 42 appearances, breaking the program record for fastest to reach that milestone set by Kasey Keller (53 caps).


The USA is now 3-2-4 all-time against Bolivia and 1-1-0 at the Copa América, avenging a group-stage loss back in 1995.

Line Ups


USA: 1-Matt Turner; 22-Joe Scally, 3-Chris Richards, 13-Tim Ream, 5-Antonee Robinson; 7-Gio Reyna (9-Ricardo Pepi, 65’), 4-Tyler Adams (6-Yunus Musah, 46’), 8-Weston McKennie (14-Luca de la Torre, 78’); 21-Tim Weah (11-Brenden Aaronson, 86’), 20-Folarin Balogun (15-Johnny Cardoso, 66’), 10-Christian Pulisic (Capt.)

Substitutes not used: 18-Ethan Horvath, 25-Sean Johnson, 2-Cameron Carter-Vickers, 12-Miles Robinson, 16-Shaq Moore, 17-Malik Tillman, 19-Haji Wright, 23-Kristoffer Lund, 24-Mark McKenzie, 26-Josh Sargent 

Head coach: Gregg Berhalter


BOLIVIA: 23-Guillermo Viscarra; 17-Roberto Fernández (10-Ramiro Vaca, 75’), 4-Luis Haquin, 3-Diego Medina (8-Jaume Cuéllar, 45’), 21-José Sagredo, 2-Jesús Sagredo; 6-Leonel Justiniano (18-Rodrigo Ramallo, 45’), 15-Gabriel Villamil, 20-Fernando Saucedo; 19-Bruno Miranda (11-Carmelo Algarañaz, 67’), 9-César Menacho (7-Miguel Terceros, 45’)

Substitutes not used: 1-Carlos Lampe, 12-Gustavo Almada, 24-Marcelo Suárez, 5-Adrián Jusino, 25-Yomar Rocha, 16-Boris Céspedes, 22-Héctor Cuéllar, 14-Robson Matheus, 26-Adalid Terrazas, 13-Lucas Chávez

Head coach: Antônio Carlos Zago

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Next Game

The USMNT (1-0-0) will continue its group stage journey on Thursday, June 27 when it faces Panama at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta (6 p.m. ET).


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