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LAFC’s Walker Zimmerman plays full 90 in USMNT friendly win over Costa Rica

Plus, Olympic qualifying updates and more news.

Soccer: International Friendly Soccer-Costa Rica at USA Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

The U.S. Men’s National Team opened up their 2020 slate and one Los Angeles Football Club player was involved in the proceedings on Saturday, as Walker Zimmerman started and went the distance in a 1-0 win over Costa Rica in Carson.

The game, which got sparse attendance in spite of (or because of?) beautiful weather on a Saturday afternoon, was a pretty low-key affair, with both teams struggling to offer a high-tempo style. But it was a friendly in a non-FIFA date so you have to start somewhere, I suppose.

The game’s only goal came courtesy of debutant Ulysses Llanez, who scored a penalty after earning in early in the second half.

Former LAFCer Marco Ureña started and played 78 minutes for Costa Rica. He’s back playing at his original club, Costa Rican outfit Alajuelense.

More news for your Monday:

  • Uruguay hang on to advance: Uruguay had to see if results elsewhere would break their way in South American Olympic qualifying, since they were on a bye for the final matchday, and lo and behold, they did, with Diego Rossi and Francisco Ginella’s team holding on to second place in their group and advancing in the tournament. They will play Argentina Monday evening, while Colombia (Eduard Atuesta, Eddie Segura) will take on Brazil to open the final group stage, with the top two finishers of the four teams advancing to this summer’s 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
  • Cifuentes arrival imminent: The other LAFC player involved in South American Olympic qualifying, newcomer Jose Cifuentes, saw his Ecuador eliminated from contention and according to LAFC writer Vince La Rosa, he was projected to be in Los Angeles this week. He may already be here. At any rate, sounds like the youngster will get in the swing of things in short order.
  • LAFC beat NYCFC in preseason: In case you missed it, LAFC played their second preseason match Friday afternoon, a closed-door affair against New York City FC that ended in a 3-1 win for the black-and-gold. Read more about it here.

Today’s question: Will Walker Zimmerman get a more sustained run for the USMNT in 2020? Gregg Berhalter continually called him up but seemed to wax and wane in his opinion of him from game to game. Let’s chat about that or whatever else you like in the comments below!