USA hangs on late against Ecuador, advance to Copa America semifinal
The United States Men’s National team and Ecuador played a friendly match just three weeks ago. The U.S. barely got the better of that matchup, winning 1-0 on a 90th minute Darlington Nagbe goal. The stakes were a little higher in the rapid rematch as a place in the Copa America Centenario semifinals was at stake. Once again, the USMNT barely hangs on for a 2-1 victory.
The first 20 minutes of the match were played at a frantic back-and-forth pace. Both teams would have early opportunities, but fail to capitalize. That is until this 22nd minute gem from the USMNT…
Bobby Wood to Jermaine Jones, to the head of Clint Dempsey. The U.S. now lead 1-0 in front of the largest soccer crowd in Seattle history. Both teams would have a couple more good shots at goal in the first half, but the score would remain 1-0 going into the break.
The pace continued in the second half, and the drama increased as well. The referee started to lose control of the match around the 51st minute. First, Antonio Valencia was charged with a yellow card for tripping Alejandro Bedoya. It was Valencia’s second yellow of the tournament so he was sent off. At the same time, during the skirmish, Jermaine Jones was issued a red card for a light push to the face of an Ecuadorian player. So we are now playing ten-on-ten.
No more than a minute later, Bobby Wood was issued his second yellow of the tournament. Tension was pretty high at this time, with a lot of pushing and jawing going back and forth as the game was still 1-0 in favor of USA.
The game would essentially be won in the 65th minute when Gyasi Zardes would be in the box to clean up Clint Dempsey’s shot…
Ecuador did a good job controlling the ball and possession for a large part of the game. Unfortunately for them, the ball wasn’t quite bouncing in their favor. That is until the 74th minute when Michael Arroyo banged a shot through the back of the net off a set piece. Score is now 2-1 USA with just 20 minutes left.
The Seattle crowd was then quite a bit more nervous as Ecuador continued to get good looks, but barely miss the goal time and time again. From a fan’s standpoint, this game had everything you could have hoped for. An American win that provided drama, tension, and some bad blood, all the way down to the final whistle. The Ecuadorian coach, Gustavo Quinteros was also sent off after a water bottle was thrown onto the field from the Ecuadorian side.
The one thing the American fan’s could have done without is all the cards. The USMNT does advance to the Copa America Centenario semifinals, but they will have to play without Jermaine Jones, Bobby Wood, and Alejandro Bedoya. This could be trouble for the U.S. as a potential matchup up with Lionel Messi and Argentina looms in the semifinals.
Argentina will play Venezuela in Foxborough on Saturday night for the chance to play the U.S. in the semifinals.
The USMNT’s Copa America semifinal game will be played in Houston on Tuesday night at 7 ET.
Brandon Reid covers Soccer for MyFantasySportsTalk.com | Follow him on Twitter @New_Breid
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