There are several unknown variables regarding the United States' Copa America Centenario quarterfinal match. Who will they play against? That seems to be the biggest one. While we won't know who the opponent will be until late Sunday night, I'm ready to make the bold proclamation that it won't matter which of the three countries (Brazil, Ecuador, or Peru) it will be.
Now that we know the USA are off to Seattle's CenturyLink Field to play their quarterfinal match, there's no reason they shouldn't be able to beat any of these three possible opponents. While we have no idea what ticket sales will be like in the Emerald City for this match, we have to hope that the rabid Seattle fans will be champing at the bit to get another competitive USMNT match in their city. If that turns out to be the case and we see a heavy pro-USA crowd on Thursday night, the opponent should not matter one bit.
This is not to disrespect Brazil, Peru or Ecuador. All three are fine soccer nations, Brazil especially. But this is not the Seleção of yesteryear. There's no Neymar, Douglas Costa, Thiago Silva, or David Luiz. This is a knockoff Brazil team plain and simple. Sure they beat the brakes off of Haiti and Liverpool's Philippe Coutinho scored a hat trick, but that's just not that impressive. They are simply not a team to be feared in their current state.
Peru and Ecuador are also very respectable teams but they have no business beating the U.S. in a competitive match on American soil, let alone in the most raucous environment in the country.
I used to not believe in the impact of Home Field Advantage. All fields are equal and the game is played the exact same way regardless of how fans act. No matter how much you want to believe that, time and time again it's proven that a rambunctious home crowd can make all the difference. How? I have no idea, but it just does. Away teams lose focus, the home side gains momentum, and so on.
The last time the USMNT were in Seattle in 2013, the atmosphere was incredible.
The poor Panama team that went up against the U.S. that day had absolutely no chance of competing in that match. Of course all three possible quarterfinal opponents are at a much higher level than Panama, but the fact remains that the passionate support that Seattle can provide will give the U.S. a massive advantage over whoever they play.
This is all assuming that Seattle shows up and takes advantage of their opportunity to prove once again that they are the best supporters in America as they so often claim. Here's a quarterfinal in a major international competition for you prove it to the country once again and help the USMNT gain a ticket to the Copa America semifinals.