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.