USA the first to get through to Copa America semi-finals

Copa America quarter-final

USA 2 – 1 Ecuador

USA’s quarter final encounter against Ecuador ended at 2-1 in favour of the host nation, and they will be the first team to move into the semi-finals of Copa America Centenario.

Right in the middle of the first half, Bobby Wood gets to a through ball and passes it to Jermaine Jones. Jones then lifts a cross to Dempsey, who heads the ball into the back of the net.

It also lifts Dempsey to level on goal tally with Lionel Messi and Philippe Coutinho – all three are now tied on top with 3 goals. But Dempsey’s only realistic competitor for the honour is Messi, after Coutinho followed Brazil in their exit from the tournament.

As the game continued into half-time, an interesting exchange saw two players sent off in a single incident. Antonio Valencia and Jermaine Jones were both sent off as they tangled up near the touchline; Valencia on a second yellow and Jones on a straight red.

In the replay, what the referee clearly saw was confirmed – that Jones had put a fist in Arroyo’s face and appeared to swing it a little bit. The match in Seattle proceeds on a 10v10 format as Jones will sit out the semi-finals.

As the game began the swing either way, Bobby Wood led another American charge, playing a through ball to find Matt Besler, who then predictably passes it to Dempsey. The captain crosses it to the far post to Gyasi Zardes, who taps it into an empty net.

Ecuador then finally responded with their first goal, scoring a set piece. The free kick on America’s left was sent to Arroyo, who hammers a low shot to beat Brad Guzan to his right. And with that, the American keeper’s clean sheet record ends after 301 minutes.

With a quarter of an hour to go, Ecuador searched desperately for their equalizer, but the game ultimately belonged to the US as they pushed boldly up front. Dominating the game, they held off Ecuador whenever they came, and then the final whistle rang.

Dempsey is subsequently announced as the man-of-the-match. True to form, the captain was vital for his national team for the entire tournament, scoring 3 goals in 3 games and assisting in almost every other.

And with their latest victory, USA progresses through the tournament and will either face Argentina or Venezuela next.

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