The U.S. Men's National Team opens the historic Copa America Centenario with an epic meeting against third-ranked Colombia. A capacity crowd is expected at Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif. Kickoff is set for 6:30 p.m. PT, and the match will be broadcast live on FS1, UniMas and Univision Deportes Network.
Following the opener, the USA travels to Chicago and the home of the U.S. Soccer Federation to face regional rivals Costa Rica on June 7 at Soldier Field. The team completesgroup play when they meet Paraguay in the "City of Brotherly Love" on June 11 at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia.
Here are some storylines to follow tonight:
MNT COPA AMERICA CENTENARIO ROSTER: The U.S. roster is loaded with experience, boasting 14 players from the 2014 FIFA World Cup squad and a total of 18 who have already appeared in Qualifying for Russia 2018. Veterans like team captain Michael Bradley and Clint Dempsey marshal the group that has collected an average of 37 caps. There are five players with 50 or more and an equal number with five or less. Meantime, John Brooks, Bobby Wood and DeAndre Yedlin lead a youth contingent that includes five players who are 23-years-old or younger.
U.S. Roster by Position:
GOALKEEPERS (3): 1-Brad Guzan (Aston Villa), 12-Tim Howard (Colorado Rapids), 22-Ethan Horvath (Molde IK)
DEFENDERS (8): 5-Matt Besler (Sporting KC), 3-Steve Birnbaum (D.C. United), 6-John Brooks (Hertha Berlin), 20-Geoff Cameron (Stoke City), 21-Edgar Castillo (Monterrey), 23-Fabian Johnson (Borussia Moenchengladbach), 14-Michael Orozco (Club Tijuana), 2-DeAndre Yedlin (Tottenham Hotspur)
MIDFIELDERS/FORWARDS (12): 15-Kyle Beckerman (Real Salt Lake), 11-Alejandro Bedoya (Nantes), 4-Michael Bradley (Toronto FC), 8-Clint Dempsey (Seattle Sounders FC), 13-Jermaine Jones (Colorado Rapids), 16-Perry Kitchen (Heart of Midlothian), 10-Darlington Nagbe (Portland Timbers), 17-Christian Pulisic (Borussia Dortmund), 18-Chris Wondolowski (San Jose Earthquakes), 7-Bobby Wood (Hamburg SV), 20-Gyasi Zardes (LA Galaxy), 19-Graham Zusi (Sporting KC)
ON A ROLL: The U.S. enters the tournament having won each of its three warm-up matches, including two by shutout. In its first meeting against Puerto Rico, a heavily European-based roster won 3-1 in Bayamon. Heading stateside and gathering the full Copa America Centenario roster for the first time, the U.S. defeated 13th-ranked Ecuador 1-0 at Toyota Stadium in Frisco, Texas thanks to Darlington Nagbe’s 90th minute volley, marking his first international goal. Nagbe’s mark denotes the fourth time the U.S. has scored in the 89th minute or later through seven matches this year. In the final tune-up, the USA added a line to record books as it swept past Bolivia 4-0 at Children’s Mercy Park. The 4-0 score line marks the largest margin of victory in U.S. MNT history against a South American country, and was highlighted by Christian Pulisic’s strike that made him the youngest goal scorer in the USA’s modern era (since 1990) at 17 years, 253 days old. Brad Guzan recorded his 15th career shutout and third of 2016.
PERFECT TIMING: The start of what has been called "the most significant tournament in the United States since the 1994 World Cup" comes at a fantastic time for the MNT. Unlike last summer's Gold Cup that was played in July, this event comes on the heels of the end of seasons in Europe and Mexico where fitness remains peak, and while MLS is hitting full stride. In addition, several regulars enter in fine form. When these factors were in play last year at this time, the U.S. pulled off back-to-back victories against then sixth-ranked Netherlands and defending World Cup champion Germany.
USA vs. COLOMBIA: The U.S. MNT has faced Colombia 17 times, first playing in 1961. The MNT hasn’t had great success, as its record against them is 3-10-4. The last time these teams met was Nov. 14, 2014, at Craven Cottage in London, where Colombia pulled out a 2-1 victory with a game-winning goal in the 87th minute.
The two have played each other in significant tournament games before, including a FIFA World Cup and multiple Copa Americas. The most famous meeting came in the 1994 World Cup held in the United States, when the United States famously defeated one of the tournament favorites 2-1 in its second group stage match.
A year later at the 1995 Copa America in Uruguay, the MNT and Colombia both made it to the semifinals. Each lost their respective match, so they played with third place on the line. Los Cafeteros won handily, 4-1, and the MNT left Uruguay in fourth, its best ever Copa America finish.
The two shared a group at the 2007 Copa America in Venezuela. They squared off in the final group match playing for pride, as no matter the outcome both weren’t going to advance. Colombia claimed a 1-0 win, sending the MNT to a 12th place finish.
ROUGH STUFF: While the Colombian team is praised for their skill and attacking prowess, they are equally admonished for a physical style of play that at times borders on reckless. Many countries – including the United States in the friendly back in 2014 – have been on the receiving end. FIFA World Player of the Year nominee Neymar was victimized in the 2015 Copa America, suffering broken vertebrae after a challenge in their quarterfinal meeting.
GUZAN NABS NO. 1: Klinsmann has revealed that Brad Guzan will be the first-choice goalkeeper for the Copa America Centenario. Guzan boasts a 10-4-4 record in official competition for the United States, which includes matches in World Cup Qualifying, the FIFA Confederations Cup, the Gold Cup and Copa America.
WINGMEN: Last month, Klinsmann announced DeAndre Yedlin and Fabian Johnson will be the starting right and left backs, respectively, for the Copa America Centenario.