2016 IMG Cup
The U.S. Men’s National Team continues its preparations for the 2019 Concacaf Gold Cup when it takes on 13th ranked Chile on Tuesday, March 26 at BBVA Compass Stadium in Houston, Texas (7:55 p.m. ET; ESPN2, UniMas, UDN).
Here are five things to know about Chile:
While they haven’t had the historical success like a few powerhouses in South America, Chile’s nine FIFA World Cup appearances rank them fourth all-time in CONMEBOL, sitting only behind the continent’s three World Cup winning nations: Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay.
Chile’s pinnacle performance came when they hosted the 1962 FIFA World Cup, driving to the semifinals where they fell to eventual champions Brazil before finishing in third place.
Chile are currently back-to-back defending champions of Copa América, winning their first continental title on home soil in 2015, before following up by winning the Copa América Centenario in the United States a year later.
Here and Now
Chile narrowly missed out on qualification to the 2018 FIFA World Cup, coming up short on the last day of CONMEBOL’s unforgiving process. Since that disappointment, La Roja has come under management of head coach Reinaldo Rueda, who famously led Honduras to qualification for the 2010 FIFA World Cup with a little help from Jonathan Bornstein and the USA [WATCH]. Rueda also previously managed his home country of Colombia (2004-06) and Ecuador (2010-14).
On the job for a year, Rueda has been tasked with incorporating some of Chile’s young and upcoming talent alongside a strong base of veterans, including all-time leading scorer Alexis Sanchez (Manchester United; pictured right), midfielder Arturo Vidal (Barcelona) and defender Gary Medel (Besiktas).
Chile is using this month’s matches will use this month’s matches against Mexico (3-1 loss on Friday in San Diego) and the United States (March 26 in Houston) as part of its preparation for this summer’s Copa América in Brazil, where they will face guests Japan, Ecuador and Uruguay in the group stage.
All-Time Series: USA vs. Chile
The USA and Chile’s first meeting came in a wild encounter during the 1950 FIFA World Cup in Brazil. Played four days after the MNT’s historic 1-0 defeat of England, the U.S. scored two quick goals after halftime to bring things level at 2-2 before succumbing to a 5-2 defeat.
The two nations have played a total of 10 times since 1950, with the USA trailing the all-time series with a 3-5-2 record. The match in Houston marks the first between the two nations since 2015 (2-3 loss in Rancagua, Chile) and first on U.S. soil since 2011 (1-1 draw in Carson, Calif.).
Raul Rueda named a 24-player roster for this month’s matches against Mexico and the United States. The squad is headlined by four players that have over 100 caps: defenders Mauricio Isla, Gonzalo Jara and Gary Medel (pictured right) and midfielder Arturo Vidal (pictured left ).
Additionally, Colorado Rapids striker Diego Rubio is also part of the roster.
Check out the full squad below:
Goalkeepers (3): Gabriel Arias (Racing/ARG; 4/0), Brayan Cortés (Colo-Colo; 2/0), Lawrence Vigouroux (Swindon Town/ENG; 0/0)
Defenders (9): Paulo Díaz (Al-Ahli/KSA; 16/0), Mauricio Isla (Fenerbahçe/TUR; 106/4), Gonzalo Jara (Estudiantes La Plata/ARG; 111/3), Igor Lichnovsky (Cruz Azul/MEX; 5/0), Guillermo Maripán (Deportivo Alavés/ESP; 14/2), Gary Medel (Besiktas/TUR; 117/7), Eugenio Mena (Racing/ARG; 56/3), Óscar Opazo (Colo-Colo; 5/0), Sebastián Vegas (Morelia/MEX; 4/1)
Midfielders (8): Charles Aránguiz (Bayer Leverkusen/GER; 68/7), Pablo Hernández (Independiente/ARG; 26/3), Jimmy Martínez (Universidad de Chile; 3/0), Jean Meneses (Club León/MEX; 0/0), Esteban Pavez (Colo-Colo; 3/0), Erick Pulgar (Bologna/ITA; 14/0), Diego Valdés (Santos Laguna/MEX; 9/1), Arturo Vidal (Barcelona/ESP; 106/26)
Forwards (4): Nicolás Castillo (Club América/MEX; 19/4), Felipe Mora (Pumas UNAM/MEX; 3/0), Iván Morales (Colo-Colo; 1/0), Diego Rubio (Colorado Rapids/USA; 4/0)
Chile: The Country
Located on the west coast of South America, Chile is a distinctively long country, stretching 2,670 miles from the continent’s midway point all the way to its southern tip. The widest portion of the country is only 217 miles, which means Chileans are never too far from either the Andes mountains or Pacific Ocean. Chile shares a long eastern border with Argentina, and also touches Bolivia (northeast) and Peru (north).
With 17.5 million people, Chile is the sixth most populous country on the continent. The country’s flag looks distinctively similar to that of the state of Texas, while the team’s nickname of “La Roja” is derived from the main color of their home jersey, red.Read more
With nearly 700 official matches in the books against 97 different opponents since the U.S. Men’s National Team first started playing in 1916, the MNT has accumulated a rich history of dramatic results, intriguing story lines and interesting anecdotes.
Ahead of Tuesday’s match against Chile (7:55 p.m. ET; ESPN2, UniMas and UDN), here are three tidbits of the MNT’s history against La Roja:
Wynalda Joins Rare Company With Copa ’95 Brace
While the 3-0 win against Argentina is the signature victory of the USA’s fourth-place finish at Copa América 1995 in Uruguay, the team’s success in that tournament started with the opening 2-1 win against Chile.
Newly equipped with a shaved head, lead MNT striker Eric Wynalda registered both goals – making a near post-run to re-direct now-MNT General Manager Earnie Stewart’s cross from the right in the 14th minute before swerving home one of his patented free kicks six minutes later.
Wynalda’s brace was historic for two reasons:
- He is one of two MNT players to score two goals in a match on South American soil. The other was Bert Patenaude, who registered a hat trick in a 3-0 win against Paraguay during the inaugural 1930 FIFA World Cup, also in Uruguay.
- More impressive, the two goals, plus the one he scored days later in a 3-0 win against Argentina, played a part in the striker becoming the only player to tally for the MNT on five different continents – North and South America, Europe, Asia and Africa. Quite a feat!
Balboa’s (Second) 100 Cap Milestone
The match was historic for another reason that wasn’t recognized as such at the time. Prior to the USA heading to South America for the tournament, long-time defender Marcelo Balboa became the first MNT player to earn 100 caps when he appeared in a 3-2 win against Nigeria on June 11, 1995 in Foxborough, Mass.
Or so he thought…
A few years later, U.S. Soccer was prompted by FIFA to revise the cap numbers of players who had represented the USA in games that were not deemed official senior team matches. This caused Balboa to lose three MNT caps, meaning his actual 100th game came in the 2-1 win against Chile on July 8, 1995.
Balboa, who finished his international career with 127 caps in 2000, remained the first MNT player to hit the century mark.
Three Debuts Against Chile
In more recent times, current MNT players Sean Johnson, Wil Trapp and Gyasi Zardes received their international debuts against Chile.
On Jan. 22, 2011, Johnson entered for Nick Rimando at halftime of a 1-1 draw with Chile at the recently renamed Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, Calif. [HIGHLIGHTS]
The USA’s most recent match on South American soil saw the now-Columbus Crew duo come off the bench in the 3-2 defeat, with Trapp replacing Mix Diskerud in the 60th minute and Zardes entering for Clint Dempsey in the 68th. [HIGHLIGHTS]
“Overall, our collective defense I thought was good,” MNT head coach Gregg Berhalter said post-game.
“John Brooks was Man of the Match, he got the coach’s game ball as well. Aaron Long could have gotten it, Tyler Adams was excellent and Tim Ream was good. We didn’t give them any openings. They couldn’t find penetrating passes. They resorted to long balls and those guys gobbled everything up.
“From a team standpoint, I was happy with the defensive shape, happy with the structure and it was good that our center backs – even when we’re up the field – that they could win every duel that comes at them. It was really impressive.”
Partnering for the first time, the central defensive pair of Brooks and Long combined to win 13 of the 16 duels they faced against Ecuador.
Positive Returns for Adams at Right Back
Much of the talk leading up to Thursday’s match revolved around Tyler Adams playing the hybrid right back/central midfield role in the system Berhalter has been working to implement with the MNT.
First on display during January Camp when Nick Lima executed it against Panama and Costa Rica, Adams lined up as a right back defensively, but partnered with Wil Trapp in the center of the park as the team moved into the attack. The difference in the movements between Adams and left back Tim Ream is illustrated in the heat maps below:
Tim Ream Movement vs. Ecuador
Tyler Adams Movement vs. Ecuador
The early returns were positive and Adams said that having Long, who he knows well from his time at the New York Red Bulls, alongside him gave him more comfort as he pinched inside.
“Even when I play my natural position, there’s so much to work on,” the 20-year-old said post-game. “For me the biggest thing is embracing the role and trying to run with it. I think the guys around me helped me and gave me confidence. Playing next to Aaron Long, who I’ve had behind me in so many games before was a confidence boost for me and I think I still have the ability to go out there, roam and effect the game. In the end, I still think there are things I need to improve on, but it would be good to go back, watch the video and see some things.”
Ream Wears the Armband
Tim Ream last MNT camp appearance came in the lead up to the 1-1 draw with Portugal in November 2017. Though he didn’t play in that match, the defender was brought along to the camp to be a leader amongst a pretty young group that went on to draw the defending European champions.
After a transitional year in 2018 saw the MNT continue the theme of giving younger players their first taste of the National Team, the 31-year-old admitted he wasn’t sure whether a return was in the cards.
“You’re never not following the program,” Ream said. “You obviously follow along, see who is coming up and is in the squad and what the scores are, but regarding my future, I didn’t know. You never know. It’s a matter of doing well at club level, and obviously I’m not as young as the rest of these guys any more. If I got the call, then great. If I didn’t, I would understand that. There’s definitely been a transition in the past year and if I wasn’t going to be involved, then so be it. Thankfully Gregg has come in and seen fit to have me part of the team.
In Ream, Berhalter saw a veteran still playing at a high level with English Premier League side Fulham, and one that could continue to provide leadership as an emerging group continues to grow. That manifested itself on Thursday night when the St. Louis-born defender captained the MNT for the first time.
“It was a huge honor to be honest with you,” he continued. “Whenever you can captain any team, that’s special, but to have it be your National Team is not something you can really describe. I tried to approach it just as any other match, just keeping myself focused and making sure I do the little things. Be in the right spots and make the right decisions. I made a few wrong decisions, but it was special. There’s no two ways about it and something I’ll be able to tell my kids forever.”
Along with the armband, Ream was credited with the assist on Zardes’ game-winning goal, the second of his international career.
With the win, Berhalter followed Bob Bradley as the second MNT head coach to begin his tenure with three-straight victories. A win on Tuesday against Chile would see Berhalter set the record for most victories at the start of an MNT coaching tenure.
Additionally, the USA has yet to give up a goal in the three games under its new head coach, raising another potential milestone.
A clean sheet against La Roja on Tuesday would tie the record for must shutouts at the start of an MNT coaching tenure, with the previous mark of four straight clean sheets set under Alkis Panagoulias when he began leading the team in 1983-84.Read more
2016 IMG Cup
|Everson Amaya||F||5-10||155||Alexandria, Va.||D.C. United|
|Julian Araujo||D||5-9||155||Lompoc, Calif.||LA Galaxy|
|George Bello||D||5-5||Douglasville, Ga.||Ambush|
|Nico Benalcazar||D||5-10||155||Wilton, Conn.||New York City FC|
|Sebastian Berhalter||M||5-2||105||Westerville, Ohio||Crew SC Academy|
|Edward Berumen||D||5-4||115||Salida, Calif.||Modesto Ajax|
|Taylor Booth||M||5-8||145||Eden, Utah||Real Salt Lake|
|Oscar Cervantes||M||5-7||126||Indio, Calif.||LA Premier|
|Nicolas Defreitas-Hansen||GK||6-1||160||Southwest Ranches, Fla.||Weston FC|
|Azriel Gonzalez||M||5-8||140||Renton, Wash.||Seattle Sounders FC|
|Justin Haak||D||5-10||153||Brooklyn, N.Y.||New York City FC|
|Cameron Harper||F||5-5||110||Newport Beach, Calif.||Pateadores|
|John Hilton||D||5-3||125||Long Beach, California||Unattached|
|Nelson Martinez||M||5-8||140||Woodbridge, Va.||D.C. United|
|Jonathan Munoz||M||5-5||115||Olathe, Kan.||Sporting Kansas City|
|David Ochoa||GK||6-2||174||Oxnard, Calif.||Real Salt Lake|
|Ben Ortiz||F||5-6||145||Orem, Utah||La Roca FC|
|Marcelo Palomino||M||5-5||130||Houston, Texas||Houston Dynamo|
|Axel Picazo||F||5-10||135||Round Rock, Texas||Philadelphia Union|
|Bryan Reynolds||F||6-2||165||Little Elm, Texas||FC Dallas|
|Gabriel Segal||F||5-7||125||Bethesda, Maryland||Bethesda-Olney|
|Leonardo Sepulveda||D||5-11||119||Corona, Calif.||LA Galaxy|
|Indiana Vassilev||M||5-9||159||Savannah, Ga.||Unattached|
2016 IMG Cup
IMG Cup Standings
U.S. U-16 BNT Record: 3-0-0
|Next Gen USA||3||1||2||0||4||10||-6||3|
|FC Florida Prep Acad.||3||1||2||0||2||9||-7||3|
|Dec. 17||USA vs. Next Gen USA Showcase Select (NJ)
||USA vs. FC Florida Prep Academy
||USA vs. Miramar United Elite FC
2016 IMG Cup Statistics
2016 IMG Cup Goalkeeping Statistics