SEATTLE, WA—The United States Men’s National Team held on to defeat the Ecuador National team 2-1 on Thursday night at Centurylink Field in Seattle, Washington. With the victory, the U.S. Soccer team will advance to the semifinals of the Copa America tournament for the second time in history, and the first time since 1995.
Clint Dempsey put the U.S. in front in the 22nd minute with a beautiful header off a diagonal pass from teammate Jermaine Jones. The home fans at Centurylink Field went nuts as chants of “U.S.A.” echoed throughout the stadium.
Forty minutes later, at the 65th minute, the U.S. doubled their lead after Dempsey sent a pass across the goal line to a wide open Gyasi Zardes who had a simple tap-in at the far post.
Ecuador found life again in the 74th minute after Michael Arroyo sent a low shot through traffic and past American goalkeeper Brad Guzman. Ecuador was relentless for the remaining 20 minutes of the game keeping the pressure in America’s zone. The home team stepped up to the challenge and was able to stave off the assault, holding on to a 2-1 victory, ensuring themselves a semifinal matchup on Tuesday, June 21.
Unfortunately, it wasn’t all celebration for the U.S. in the victory. They will be without three of their top players in the next match after they received disciplinary cards.
Jermaine Jones picked up a red card for striking Michael Arroyo in the face, after Arroyo “kicked-out” a U.S. player. He was forced to leave the game, and will have to watch Tuesday’s game from the sideline, the result of receiving a red card.
Bobby Wood and Alejandro Bedoya each received yellow cards during the match. Because of yellow cards that they were given earlier in the tournament, they will also have to watch Tuesday’s bout from the sideline. In accordance with Copa America tournament rules, all previous yellow cards are erased after the quarterfinals, meaning that all remaining U.S. players will play their next game with a clean slate.
The United States will play the winner of the Argentina-Venezuela game. Argentina is considered the number one team in the world according to the FIFA World Rankings. The USMNT will have their hands full with either opponent, especially three players down, but hope to keep their magical run alive.