United States v Bolivia: Knockout victory will measure success, claims Adams

By Sports Desk June 22, 2024

Tyler Adams believes winning a knockout match is the real measure of success for the United States at the Copa America.

The USA are the host nation of the 2024 Copa America, and they kick-start their campaign against Bolivia on Sunday.

Gregg Berhalter's team will also face Panama and Uruguay in Group C, which they are predicted to progress from in second place, according to Opta's supercomputer.

And while taking nothing for granted ahead of facing the tournament's worst-ranked team, Adams believes a true litmus test for the USA would be progressing beyond the quarter-finals.

"For me, it's getting past the quarter-final," said Adams.

"We need to – in a pressure situation – win in a knockout. That's going to measure a lot of our success."

Defender Mark McKenzie added: "When you talk about some of the most watched games, I think aside from the World Cup, you look at the Copa America.

"You talk about countries that have won multiple World Cups, in Uruguay and Argentina and Brazil.

"You have the opportunity now to step into this tournament and go head-to-head with them. Ultimately, it's usually a South American tournament and now we have the opportunity to play against them."

Carlos Zago won the Copa America with Brazil in 1999, and the Bolivia head coach is out to cause an upset at the AT&T Stadium.

"The most important thing is for us to compete," Zago said.

"We have to try to play on an equal footing with the big teams in terms of intensity and physicality."

Bournemouth midfielder Adams also made a bullish statement in regards to his own ability.

"When I'm healthy and playing consistently, I'm one of the best midfielders at what I do in the world," he said, as reported by the Daily Mail.

"I'm not a politician, I don't need to persuade anyone."

PLAYERS TO WATCH

United States - Christian Pulisic

Pulisic, who will captain the Stars and Stripes at this tournament, is their chief playmaker and also a potent goal threat.

Indeed, he is coming off his best season in terms of goals scored at club level, having netted 15 times for Milan in 2023-24.

Bolivia - Carlos Lampe

Carlos Lampe (nine) is two matches away from equalling Arturo Lopez (11) for the third-most appearances among goalkeepers for Bolivia in the Copa America.

Only Eduardo Gutierrez (12) and Vicente Arraya (20) have played more matches in goal for Bolivia in the competition.

MATCH PREDICTION: UNITED STATES WIN

The USA and Bolivia have faced each other only once in the Copa America, and it was a victory for the South American team, 1-0 at Estadio Parque Artigas in Uruguay during the group stage of the 1995 edition, thanks to a goal by Marco Etcheverry.

However, the USA are backed to win this time, even though CONMEBOL teams have won eight of the last 10 matches against the Stars and Stripes in the Copa America, including the two most recent: Argentina 4-0 USA (semifinals in 2016) and Colombia 1-0 USA (third-place match in 2016).

Bolivia will seek a win against a CONCACAF opponent in the competition for the first time since the 1997 edition when they defeated Mexico 3-1 in the semi-finals of the tournament they hosted.

Expect Bolivia to go long more often than not. So far in the South American Qualifiers for the 2026 World Cup, Bolivia (along with Paraguay) have the highest average passing distance (20.5 meters).

OPTA WIN PROBABILITY

USA - 58%

Bolivia - 21%

Draw - 21%

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