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The U.S. Men’s National Team is set to continue the knockout stage of the Copa America Centenario – a tournament celebrating the 100th anniversary of the historical Copa America tournament, the championship of South America – in a semifinal matchup against No. 1-ranked Argentina on Tuesday, June 22 at NRG Stadium in Houston (9:00 p.m. ET – FS1, Univision, UDN). Here is what you need to know about the #USMNT heading into the win-or-go-home match against La Albiceleste.
The USA is 9-2-0 in 2016 and has won six of seven games since reporting for camp in mid-May leading up to the tournament. The road to Copa America Centenario included friendly victories against Puerto Rico (3-1), Ecuador (1-0) and Bolivia (4-0). In the group stage, the U.S. dropped its first game 2-0 to Colombia, but rebounded with consecutive shutouts including a 4-0 win against Costa Rica and a 1-0 shutout against Panama, despite playing 42 minutes with just 10 men. The MNT defeated Ecuador 2-1 in the quarterfinals last Thursday with goals from Clint Dempsey and Gyasi Zardes to advance to tonight's semifinal. With a win tonight, the U.S. would advance to the Final at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J. on Sunday evening. If the USA were to lose, they will compete in the Third-place Game in Phoenix on Saturday night.
Dempsey leads the team with three goals - which is tied for third in the competition - and paces the tournament with three assists. Having scored in the home of his club team, Seattle Sounders FC, last game, Dempsey returns home to the Lone Star State, less than 150 miles of his hometown of Nacogdoches for the semifinal.
Head coach Jurgen Klinsmann’s team has improved to 52-23-17 under his watch. He ranks second on the MNT’s all-time list for wins behind Bruce Arena with 71. He ranks first in U.S. history with a winning percentage exceeding .700 in official competition.
The U.S. deployed same starting XI for all three matches in group phase, but was forced to change course in the quarterfinals due to DeAndre Yedlin's suspension on a red card. Though Yedlin is available against Argentina, the MNT will be without Alejandro Bedoya, Jermaine Jones and Bobby Wood due to yellow card accumulation.
The MNT is also in the process of qualifying for the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia. The U.S. sits in second place in Group C in the Semifinal Round of Qualifying with two matches left to determine the participants in “The Hex”, the final round that begins in November.
The U.S. roster for Copa America Centenario is made up of three goalkeepers, eight forwards and 12 midfielders/forwards.
There are 14 players from the 2014 FIFA World Cup squad, and a total of 19 who have already appeared in qualifying for Russia 2018. The group includes Kyle Beckerman, Alejandro Bedoya, Matt Besler, Michael Bradley, John Brooks, Geoff Cameron, Clint Dempsey, Brad Guzan, Tim Howard, Fabian Johnson, Jermaine Jones, Chris Wondolowski, DeAndre Yedlin, and Graham Zusi.
The team has combined for 967 caps, good for an average of more than 42 per player. Dempsey leads the team with 128 appearances, and his 52 goals rank second in USA history. He notably scored his 50th in the group stage at Soldier Field in Chicago, the same site he also scored his first. Meanwhile, 20-year-old goalkeeper Ethan Horvath is the lone player on the roster without a senior team cap.
12 players on the roster come from MLS, along with four from the German Bundesliga, three from the English Premier League, two from Liga MX (Mexico) and one apiece from the Scottish Premiership, Ligue 1 (France) and Tippeligaen (Norway).
Christian Pulisic is the youngest player on the roster at 17 years, 9 months and 3 days old as of the semifinal matchup with Argentina, while Tim Howard is the oldest player on the roster at 37 years, 3 months and 15 days old. They are separated by a span of 19 years, 6 months and 12 days.Read more
The night before the USA’s Copa America Centenario Quarterfinal against Ecuador, U.S. captain Michael Bradley approached the team equipment manager Jesse Bignami with an idea.
The team had already put out a video in support of the victims of the tragedy in Orlando, but with the spotlight turned on a team representing the United States, all of the United States, he felt more needed to be done.
One of the honors of being the captain is the opportunity to wear the armband, a symbol of leadership and respect. He believed strongly that on this night and this stage, the National Team needed to be leaders on an issue greater than themselves. In a tournament, each team is given identical armbands. Bradley wondered if Bignami could make the one for the match that was a little more custom.
"Obviously it's an incredibly sad week for our country, for the LGBT community," Bradley said following the game. "We all feel a big sense of responsibility every time we represent our country, and wearing a rainbow armband felt like the right way to honor that role tonight.”
U.S. Men's National Team captain Michael Bradley, wearing the custom rainbow OneNation. captain's band,
places his hand over his heart in preparation for the National Anthem ahead of
the USA's Copa America Centenario Quarterfinal showdown with Ecuador at CenturyLink Field in Seattle.
The idea was one thing, but bringing it to fruition was another. A rainbow armband didn’t exist as far as they knew, so where could one be found, or in this case, made?
They first approached the Nation Women’s Soccer League’s Seattle Reign about making a heat transfer labeled with #OneNation. They could. The next call was to the kitman from Seattle Sounders FC, who had previously had a similar item made for his team. His contact was closed for the evening, but he promised to reach out first thing.
By midnight, samples of the heat transfers had been delivered to the team hotel. The question still remained of whether an armband could be made. The next morning, after consultations on size and material, STT-Sports Lettering Co. confirmed they could have one ready for pickup after noon.
After the team equipment arrived at CenturyLink Field, Bignami took off to the shop to retrieve the armband while assistant Mike Zawlocki fired up the heat press. About 20 minutes before the MNT arrived at CenturyLink Field, the unique and powerful symbol was tucked away in Bradley’s locker. Ready to be worn with pride. Ready to represent #OneNation.
The U.S. Men’s National Team earned a massive 2-1 win against Ecuador before 47,322 fans at CenturyLink Field to secure a Semifinal berth at the 2016 Copa America Centenario.
The win against La Tri sends the USA to NRG Stadium in Houston next Tuesday, June 21 for a showdown with the winner between Argentina and Venezuela, who play this Saturday night in Boston. The Semifinal will be broadcast live on FS1, Univision and UDN. Fans can also follow the action on Twitter @ussoccer and @ussoccer_esp.Read more
SEATTLE (June 16, 2016) – The U.S. Men’s National Team earned a massive 2-1 win against Ecuador before 47,322 fans at CenturyLink Field to secure a Semifinal berth at the 2016 Copa America Centenario.
The match was played at a high intensity from the first whistle as both teams wrestled for control of the game early. But it was the USA that landed the first blow in the 22nd minute as Clint Dempsey, playing in the city where he suits up for Seattle Sounders FC, opened the scoring with a textbook headed finish.
The U.S. carried the lead into the second half where cards began to take their toll on both teams. In the 52nd minute, both sides had players sent off as Antonio Valencia received a second caution for Ecuador and Jermaine Jones earned a straight red for an after-the-play incident for the U.S. Both teams kept up the high tempo despite being reduced to 10-men but the U.S. was able to exploit the additional space when Gyasi Zardes tapped home what proved to be the game-clincher in the 65th minute.
Although Ecuador pulled a goal back from a set piece – Michael Arroyo picked out the lower left corner of Brad Guzan’s goal as Ecuador utilized crafty play deep in U.S. territory – they were not able to further breach a staunch U.S. defense led by center back duo John Brooks and Geoff Cameron.
The win against La Tri sends the USA to NRG Stadium in Houston next Tuesday, June 21 for a showdown with the winner between Argentina and Venezuela, who play this Saturday night in Boston. The Semifinal will be broadcast live on FS1, Univision and UDN. Fans can also follow the action on Twitter @ussoccer and @ussoccer_esp.
Goal Scoring Rundown:
USA – Clint Dempsey (Jermaine Jones), 22nd minute: Dempsey was the alpha and omega of the final thrust of the USA’s goal scoring move. Picking up the ball in the center of the offensive half, Dempsey played Bobby Wood into the Ecuador box before getting chopped down by a tackle. Wood was able to run the ball down, face up his defender and play a smart pass back to Jones at the top right corner of the box where the midfielder one-timed a lofted ball into the heart of the Ecuador defense. Dempsey, who had recovered to make a late run into the box, leapt between two defenders to plant a header into the right side of the net. USA 1, ECU 0
USA – Gyasi Zardes (Clint Dempsey), 65th minute: John Brooks played a long ball from midfield into the left corner for Bobby Wood to run down. He once again controlled the ball, faced up his defender and made a smart pass back to Matt Besler, who crossed to the back post, looking for Zardes. A deflected header fell to Dempsey, who beat his man and sent the ball across the face of goal to where Zardes was unmarked to tap in the eventual game-winner with ease. USA 2, ECU 0
ECU – Michael Arroyo (Walter Ayovi), 74th minute: Ecuador won a free kick near the right U.S. corner flag. With all his teammates stationed in the U.S. penalty area, Ayovi played the ball on the ground to the top center of the U.S. box for where Arroyo met it with a curling run to smack a low, one-time shot through traffic into the lower right corner of Brad Guzan’s goal. USA 2, ECU 1 FINAL
Key Saves and Defensive Stops:
ECU – Alexander Dominguez, 41st minute: On a quick counter, the USA sent the ball over Ecuador’s high defensive line and Dempsey ran onto a bouncing pass as it rolled to the left of the box. He slipped a one-touch pass past his defender and into the path of Alejandro Bedoya who took a moment to look up and pick out his spot, but Dominguez was quick to close down the angle and got down to his left to make the save.
USA – Brad Guzan, 45+1: A giveaway in midfield allowed Michael Arroyo to get in behind the U.S. defense and crack a wide angle shot on goal from close range, but Guzan had his positioning right and was able to make the kick save to keep Ecuador off the board in the first half.
Next on the Schedule: The U.S. MNT continues its 2016 Copa America Centenario in the Semifinal against the winner between Argentina and Venezuela, who play on Saturday night at 7 p.m. ET in Boston. The Semifinal will be played at NRG Stadium in Houston on Tuesday, June 21.
- Clint Dempsey scored his 52nd goal in his 128th cap for the USA. He is now, only five behind all-time U.S. leader Landon Donovan and has scored or assisted the winning goal in each of the USA’s last three games.
- Tonight’s win improves the USA’s all-time record vs. Ecuador to 4-5-5. The U.S. has won both the last two meetings between the two countries including their Copa America Centenario warm-up match 1-0 on May 25 in Frisco, Texas.
- The U.S. is now 9-2-0 to start 2016 which is the team’s second best start through its first 11 games of the year since 2007 when the Yanks went 10-0-1.
- Tonight’s starting XI was: Brad Guzan; Fabian Johnson, Geoff Cameron, John Brooks, Matt Besler; Alejandro Bedoya, Michael Bradley, Jermaine Jones; Gyasi Zardes, Clint Dempsey, Bobby Wood
- Nine of the players in tonight’s lineup, including the goalkeeper, entire back line and midfield, were on the USA’s 2014 FIFA World Cup roster.
- This is the first time this lineup has played together after U.S. head coach Jurgen Klinsmann deployed the same starters for all three matches in the group phase. Besler, making his 2016 Copa America debut, replaced DeAndre Yedlin, who was suspended after receiving two yellow cards in the 1-0 win against Paraguay.
- Yedlin will be available for selection in the Semifinal after serving his suspension vs. Ecuador. However, the U.S. will have to deal with the losses of Bedoya and Wood, both of whom miss the Semifinal due to yellow card accumulation through the first four matches of the tournament. Jones is also suspended for the Semifinal due to receiving a straight red card vs. Ecuador.
- Dempsey is tied for the lead in the tournament Golden Boot race with Lionel Messi (ARG) and Philippe Coutinho (BRA); each has three goals. Dempsey leads all players in the competition with three assists. He recently won the Golden Boot at the 2015 Gold Cup with seven goals.
- Guzan and the U.S. defense saw their shutout streak come to an end at an impressive 301 consecutive minutes in the 2016 Copa America Centenario.
- Michael Bradley and Gyasi Zardes have both played in 10 of 11 MNT games in 2016, tied for the team lead.
- U.S. Men’s National Team Match Report -
Match: U.S. Men’s National Team vs. Ecuador
Date: June 16, 2016
Competition: 2016 Copa America Centenario - Quarterfinals
Venue: CenturyLink Field; Seattle, Wash.
Kickoff: 6:30 p.m. PT
Weather: 66 degrees, mostly cloudy
Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
USA 1 1 2
ECU 0 1 1
USA – Gyasi Zardes (Clint Dempsey) 65
ECU – Michael Arroyo (Walter Ayovi) 74
USA: 1-Brad Guzan; 5-Matt Besler, 20-Geoff Cameron, 6-John Brooks, 23-Fabian Johnson; 11-Alejandro Bedoya (19-Graham Zusi, 81), 4-Michael Bradley (capt.), 13-Jermaine Jones; 9-Gyasi Zardes (3-Steve Birnbaum, 90+4), 8-Clint Dempsey (15-Kyle Beckerman, 74), 7-Bobby Wood
Subs not used: 10-Darlington Nagbe, 12-Tim Howard, 14-Michael Orozco, 16-Perry Kitchen, 17-Christian Pulisic, 18-Chris Wondolowski, 21-Edgar Castillo, 22-Ethan Horvath
Not available: 2-DeAndre Yedlin
Head Coach: Jurgen Klinsmann
ECU: 22-Alexander Dominguez; 2-Arturo Mina, 3-Frickson Erazo, 4-Juan Paredes (17-Jaimen Ayovi, 82), 10-Walter Ayoví (capt.), 13-Enner Valencia; 6-Christian Noboa (8-Fernando Gaibor, 62), 7-Jefferson Montero, 11-Michael Arroyo, 16-Luis Valencia, 18-Carlos Gruezo
Subs not used: 1-Maximo Banguera, 5-Cristian Ramirez, 9-Fidel Martinez, 12-Esteban Dreer, 14-Angel Mena, 15-Pedro Larrea, 19-Juan Cazares, 20-Robert Arboleda, 21-Gabriel Achiller, 23-Miler Bolaños
Head Coach: Gustavo Quinteros
Stats Summary: USA / ECU
Shots: 7 / 13
Shots on Goal: 4 / 3
Saves: 2 / 2
Corner Kicks: 4 / 5
Fouls: 11 / 11
Offside: 0 / 4
ECU – Luis Valencia (caution) 38th minute
USA – Jermaine Jones (sent off) 52
ECU – Luis Valencia (caution) 52
ECU – Luis Valencia (sent off) 52
USA – Bobby Wood (caution) 53
ECU – Juan Paredes (caution) 64
USA – Alejandro Bedoya (caution) 73
USA – Brad Guzan (caution) 84
Referee: Wilmar Roldán (COL)
Assistant Referee 1: Alexander Guzmán (COL)
Assistant Referee 2: Wilmar Navarro (COL)
4th Official: Wilton Sampaio (BRA)
Budweiser Man of the Match: Clint DempseyRead more