IMAGE: Junior and Paul

Paul Arriola and Junior Moreno were both in action this week for their respective national teams.  Arriola and the USMNT took on Guyana in the opening match of the Gold Cup, while Moreno and Venezuela faced international heavyweights Brazil for their second match in the Copa America. 

Paul Arriola made his 24th appearance for the USMNT in the 4-0 victory over Guyana on June 18.  The Black-and-Red midfielder started and played the entire 90 minutes as the USMNT dismantled Guyana at Allianz Field in Minneapolis, MN.  In the 28th minute, Arriola collected the ball in the box off a pass from FC Schalke’s Weston McKennie, took one touch and curled it into the side netting to open the scoring for the USMNT.  Then in the 81st minute with the USMNT already up 3-0, Arriola cut inside onto his right foot to set up Tyler Boyd at the edge of the box to give the USMNT the 4-0 lead.  

“The most important thing for us today was to win with confidence and clarity and we did that,” Arriola said after the match. “To me, it felt great to be able to be the one to put the first one in.  Having a few chances from the previous games, that was a big one for me.”

Junior Moreno was also in action as he made his 16th appearance for Venezuela in the 0-0 draw against Brazil on June 18 at Fonte Nova Arena in Salvador, Brazil.  Moreno started and played 90 minutes in the defensive role of a midfield three.  The Venezuelan and his national teammates were under constant pressure from a Brazil side that had the likes of Philippe Coutinho and Roberto Firmino in the starting lineup.  Brazil dominated possession but Venezuela stood tall and held on for their second draw of the tournament.  The D.C. United midfielder was instrumental in helping his team maintain their second consecutive shutout to give them a chance of advancing to the knockout stages.    

Arriola and the USMNT will take on Trinidad and Tobago on June 22 at FirstEnergy Stadium for their second match in the group stage of the Gold Cup, while Moreno and Venezuela face off against Bolivia in their final match in the group stage of the Copa America.