The USA Men’s National Soccer Team faces Puerto Rico for the first time ever in an international friendly match that will stream live on Sunday, as the USMNT goes through what Head Coach Jurgen Klinsmann calls a “transition” ahead of the massive Copa America tournament hosted by the United States next month.
According to Klinsmann, the Puerto Rico game — which given the home team’s inexperience and lack of international players should not prove much of a test for the USA — is intended mainly to keep the United States players who play their club soccer in Europe and Mexico sharp, because the seasons have ended in those regions.
None of the domestic MLS players on the USMNT will be available for the Puerto Rico game, but will join the team on Monday ahead of the next USA friendly, against Ecuador in Texas on Wednesday.
— Picked One! (@PickedOne) May 20, 2016
In fact, five of the 22 players on the USA team making the trip to Puerto Rico have never been capped in an international match, and at least seven will not be on the team’s roster for the Copa America.
The game against Puerto Rico was a last-minute addition to the USMNT schedule, and some rumors have alleged that the main reason the game is being played at all is as a promotion for the new Puerto Rico FC franchise in the North American Soccer League, the United States second-tier pro league.
The last time the USA Men’s Soccer Team played was on March 29, when they faced Guatemala in a World Cup qualifier — winning 4-0. Watch highlights of that match in the video below.
To find out how to watch a live stream of the USA Soccer Men’s National Team vs. Puerto Rico international friendly match, see the streaming link in the final paragraph of this article. Kickoff is scheduled for noon Atlantic Standard Time, which — because Puerto Rico does not recognize Daylight Savings Time — is also noon United States Eastern Time, 9 a.m. Pacific, at Juan Ramón Loubriel Stadium in Bayamón, Puerto Rico, on Sunday, May 22.
The Puerto Rico team, which played only four international matches last year and just two so far in 2016, includes only one MLS player, 10-year MLS veteran defender Jason Hernandez of New York City FC, and few overseas players. The cream of the overseas crop on the Puerto Rico roster will be Juan Coca and Andrés Cabrero, both of whom play in Finland for third-division side Kultsu FC.
The team features a collegiate player in goal, Matt Sanchez of Loyola University. Most of the remainder of the Puerto Rico side is made up of players from the island’s domestic league.
— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) May 15, 2016
The United States attack will center around Bobby Wood, who posted a 17-goal season in the German second division, earning him a four-year contract with Bundesliga club Hamburg.
“When you become an adult, you have to bring out your elbows. Bobby learned to bring out his elbows. He realized you’ve got to make it this year, or they’ll move you on,” Klinsmann said of Wood. “And now he has the opportunity to play for one of the most prestigious clubs in Germany. A stadium is waiting for him next year sold out every week with 60,000.”
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Watch a live stream of the first-ever international soccer match between the USA Men’s National Team and Puerto Rico, from Juan Ramón Loubriel Stadium in Bayamón, Puerto Rico, by going to Fox Sports Go at this link, or by downloading the Fox Sports Go app to watch on tablet computers and smartphones. Fans should note that Fox Sports Go can also stream live via the Amazon Fire TV device, allowing viewers to catch the USA Men’s National Soccer Team in its first of three warm-up matches ahead of the massive Copa America tournament hosted by the United States in June, in a live stream on their TV sets.
[Featured Photo By Patrick Smith / Getty Images]