(Reuters) – A pre-tournament draw against Brazil shows the United States have what it takes to go the distance, midfielder Yunus Musah said, as the Copa America hosts prepare to open group play against Bolivia on Sunday in Arlington, Texas.

The U.S. team put on a convincing performance to hold one of the hot favourites, Brazil, 1-1 in a pre-tournament friendly earlier this month, and Musah told reporters it offered a glimpse into how his group could succeed.

“The intensity and being really solid defensively and being really organised – we saw it was difficult for Brazil to beat us,” he said.

“So we see that as a strength of ours and we want to carry that on because that’s what’s going to help us.”

Musah and his AC Milan team mate Christian Pulisic are part of a tight-knit U.S. team eager to make an impact in South America’s most important national team tournament, which features six CONCACAF (North and Central America and the Caribbean) invitees.

The U.S. men’s squad reached the knockout stages at the most recent World Cup, an encouraging sign for fans as the United States prepare to co-host the quadrennial tournament in 2026.

The 11th-ranked U.S. will not take their opener against 84th-ranked Bolivia lightly, with Panama and Uruguay awaiting them in Group C.

“We know that we’re capable of doing good things and, yea, we need to show that on the field and that’s what we’re going to try to do,” said Musah.

“We expect big things from ourselves. As players, we want to do the best. We want to get very far in the competition.”

(Reporting by Amy Tennery in New York; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)

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