Chile longshots begin Copa America prep

For the USA, the game against Chile Wednesday in Rancagua will the first match of the year as it prepares for its Gold Cup title defense in July.

La Roja's big test of the year will come a month earlier when it hosts the Copa America, so Coach Jorge Sampaoli is on the lookout for reinforcements from the all-domestic squad that will take the field at the Estadio Bicentenario.

Only two players in Sampaoli's 19-player squad are holdovers from the 2014 World Cup: backup keeper Johnny Herrera and reserve center back Jose Rojas.

The most experienced player is 30-year-old Mark Gonzalez, who represented Chile at the 2010 World Cup and scored against Switzerland. After stints in Spain, England and Russia, he returned to Chile last year and hopes to resuscitate a national team career that began in 2013. He is expected to form part of the three-man frontline in Chile's 3-4-3 formation with Universidad Catolica teammate Roberto Gutierrez and uncapped Juan Delgado.

The oldest player is 34-year-old midfielder Jaime Valdes, who has not been called up to the national team since 2010 but is now back in Chile after 13 seasons in Europe, 11 in Italy and two in Portugal.

But more than half the players Sampaoli called in are uncapped. The player he'll be watching is 20-year-old Paulo Diaz, who should start on the backline with Rojas and Osvaldo Gonzalez following the withdrawal of Cristian Suarez.

Chile Roster:
Goalkeepers: Johnny Herrera (Universidad de Chile), Paulo Garces (Colo Colo).
Defenders: Jose Rojas (Universidad de Chile), Osvaldo Gonzalez (Universidad de Chile), Gonzalo Fierro (Colo Colo), Erick Pulgar (Universidad Catolica), Juan Cornejo (Audax Italiano), Paulo Diaz (Palestino).
Midfielders: Gonzalo Espinoza (Universidad de Chile), Jaime Valdes (Colo Colo), Angelo Sagal (Huachipato), Bryan Carrasco (Audax Italiano), Diego Valdes (Audax Italiano), Marco Medel (Santiago Wanderers), Cesar Valenzuela (Palestino).
Forwards: Juan Delgado (Colo Colo) Mark Gonzalez (Universidad Catolica), Roberto Gutierrez (Universidad Catolica). Andres Vilches (Huachipato).

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