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Christian Pulisic scores spectacular goal as US beats Bolivia in Copa América opener

<i>Tony Gutierrez/AP via CNN Newsource</i><br/>Pulisic's effort curled over Bolivia's goalkeeper Guillermo Viscarra's outstretched arm.
Tony Gutierrez/AP via CNN Newsource
Pulisic's effort curled over Bolivia's goalkeeper Guillermo Viscarra's outstretched arm.

By Ben Church, CNN

(CNN) — It was the perfect start for Christian Pulisic and the US at this year’s Copa América, with the forward inspiring his side to a 2-0 win against Bolivia on Sunday.

The US captain settled any nerves for the host with a superb strike in just the third minute of the match, curling a fine finish over the Bolivian goalkeeper after a well-worked corner.

The 25-year-old then turned provider, setting up Folarin Balogun for the team’s second goal just before the break inside Arlington’s AT&T Stadium.

The tournament is being held in the United States for the second time, a dress rehearsal for when the country co-hosts the World Cup in 2026.

“We came out flying with a lot of intensity. Obviously that early goal helped us a lot. All round a pretty dominant performance,” Pulisic told FOX Soccer after the game.

“We should build some confidence from this and feel good but the games are just going to get tougher and tougher as the tournament goes on.”

Superior in quality and experience, the US cruised to victory against a Bolivia team which struggled to make much of an impact.

In truth, the host could and should have extended its lead but failed to make the most of the numerous chances that came its way.

Balogun did think he had scored a third for the US, but his 53rd-minute effort was ruled out for an offside in the build up.

Tougher tests to come

The US will face Panama in its next Group C match before facing a much sterner text against Uruguay in its final group game.

Despite boasting several talented players, including the likes of Timothy Weah, Pulisic and Balogun, serious questions remain about whether the US men can consistently be competitive against teams outside of its CONCACAF bubble.

Should it progress deeper in the tournament, the US will have the chance to dispel such concerns but will need its star players to shine.

“The biggest thing was there wasn’t any doubts. Getting the early goal really took the pressure off,” US head coach Gregg Berhalter told FOX Soccer after the game, praising Pulisic’s “dangerous” performance.

“It’s always important to win your first game, we talked about progressing and improving our performance throughout the tournament so I think it’s a good starting point.”

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