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 Dempsey