ARLINGTON, United States (Reuters) -A third-minute goal from Christian Pulisic set the United States on their way to a 2-0 victory over Bolivia in their Group C opener at the Copa America on Sunday.

Folarin Balogun added the second shortly before half-time and while the tournament hosts pushed for more goals in the second half they were unable to add to their tally.

“The message to the team is it’s always important to win your first game,” U.S. coach Gregg Berhalter said.

“We talked about progressing our performance, improving our performance throughout the tournament, so I think it was a good starting point.”

The U.S. were aggressive right from the start against Bolivia, who have just one win in their last 31 Copa America matches.

A missed opportunity by Balogun in the first 20 seconds was soon forgotten when Pulisic scored a spectacular goal from the edge of the box, beating Bolivian keeper Guillermo Viscarra.

It was Pulisic’s 30th goal in 69 international matches. His first came against Bolivia in May 2016.

The U.S. doubled their lead in the 44th minute when Pulisic found Balogun and the striker ended his six-match goal drought in international matches with a low shot into the bottom corner.

The hosts continued their onslaught with Ricardo Pepi, who came on as a substitute in the 65th minute, denied four times by Viscarra.

“We tried to recover but of course, after the goal in minute three, it all went down the hill,” Bolivia coach Antonio Carlos Zago told reporters.

“We should have competed a bit more, but we need to be aware that we had the host team in front of us. They are a strong national team and I am really happy with the effort made by the players.”

The U.S. next face CONCACAF rivals Panama on Thursday in Atlanta, while Uruguay will take on Bolivia in New Jersey.

(Reporting by Field Level Media; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman, Himani Sarkar, Peter Rutherford)

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