It has been 100 years in the making and tonight the United States Men's National Team will host Colombia in the opening game of Copa America Centenario in Levi's Stadium from Santa Clara, California. This special edition of the Copa America is being held in the United States to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the first Copa America. The tournament consists of all ten CONMEBOL nations and six CONCACAF nations. The six CONCACAF nations are USA and Mexico (both automatically invited), Costa Rica (Winner of 2014 Copa America Centroamerica), Jamaica (Winner of 2014 Caribbean Cup), Haiti and Panama (both winners of Copa America Centenario Qualifying Play-offs).
Group A consists of the USMNT, Colombia, Paraguay and Costa Rica and is the toughest group in the tournament. The opening game will be crucial to each team's chances to advance to the Quarterfinals. The winner of Group A will play the runner up from Group B (Brazil, Ecuador, Haiti and Peru) in Seattle on June 16th while the runner up from Group A will play the winner of Group B on June 17th in Met Life Stadium in New Jersey.
What To Watch For:
- Has the USMNT settled on a lineup and formation? Amidst year 6 of the Jurgen Klinsmann era it seems that the USMNT has finally settled on a formation and lineup. All three warm-up matches were played in a 4-3-3 with the last 225 minutes the defensive midfielder spot has been filled by Michael Bradley. With Bradley comfortable in the D-Mid role the rest of the team has fallen into place. Look for the USMNT to come out in the same formation as Saturday's match against Bolivia with the exception of resting DeAndre Yedlin and Fabian Johnson back in the starting lineup in their outside back positions.
- Will James Rodríguez recapture his 2014 World Cup form? He goes by one name, James and he won the Golden Boot at Brazil 2014 at the age of 22. Following the World Cup James made the move to Real Madrid for a massive transfer fee of €80 million. James enjoyed a standout season in Real Madrid and hopes were high going into Copa America 2015. But James failed to score or assist and Colombia finished third in their group and were eliminated in the first knockout round. Returning to Madrid this season, James has fallen out of the starting lineup and was an unused substitute in Real Madrid's Champions League Final victory played last Saturday.
- Will the kids play? Darlington Nagbe and Christian Pulisic have undoubtedly been stars of the three game warm-up series. And while they likely will not start, they will have a part to play. Look for Alejandro Bedoya to be tasked with hounding the Colombia midfield for about 60 minutes then making way for Nagbe and for Pulisic to bring a spark off the bench when Gyasi Zardes is tiring.
TV and Streaming Listings:
This is your Sounder at Heart USMNT Copa America Centenario Gamethread for Day 1. We will be here all tournament. And on a personal note, your author will be at this game. If you are interested I will be posting photographic evidence on my twitter feed.