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USA vs. Ecuador, Copa America 2016: Final score 2-1, USMNT holds on to advance to semifinals

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The U.S. wins!

Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

The United States men's national team defeated Ecuador, 2-1, at CenturyLink Field in Seattle, Washington. With the win, the U.S. advances to the semifinals of the Copa America Centenario.

The U.S. took the lead in the 22nd minute off a Clint Dempsey goal. Dempsey played a through ball to Bobby Wood. Wood found Jermaine Jones, whose cross was headed into the net by the pride of Nacogdoches, Texas.

Both teams pressed for a goal for the rest of the half, but the defenses stood firm.

Antonio Valencia and Jermaine Jones were sent off in the 52nd minute. Valencia received a second yellow for a bad foul on Alejandro Bedoya, and Jones was sent off for "violent conduct". A minute later, Bobby Wood received a yellow.

Gyasi Zardes doubled the lead in the 65th minute, tapping in a pass from Dempsey.

Down two goals, Ecuador pushed the attack and forced the U.S. back. They were rewarded for their aggressive attacking in the 74th minute. Michael Arroyo received Walter Ayovi's free kick at the top of the box and blasted the ball past Brad Guzan.

Ecuador searched for the equalizer, but the resilient American defense was able to bend, but not break until the final whistle.

This may ultimately prove to be a Pyrrhic victory, but for now the U.S. has earned a spot in the semifinals of the Copa America Centenario. Jurgen Klinsmann has made good on his promise.

Thoughts

  • That was a phenomenal pass by Jones on Dempsey's goal. Of course, he then ruins all good will by putting his hands on another player's face. It was a soft red card, but a veteran should know better. That's Jermaine Jones. You accept the moments of brilliance with the moments of insanity.
  • John Anthony Brooks put in another great performance. If he had exited the match with his elbow injury, the USMNT would have struggled to deal with Ecuador's attack. He stayed in the game and remained a dominant presence. If he hasn't earned a spot on the tournament's Best XI by now, then this whole system is out of order.
  • Bobby Wood and Alejandro Bedoya are missing the next match along with Jones. Who steps in to replace them? Will we see Darlington Nagbe, Christian Pulisic, Kyle Beckerman, or Chris Wondolowski? There are going to be a lot of changes to the lineup.
  • Michael Bradley gives the ball away too much. Ecuador didn't punish the U.S., but a better team will. He's playing too deep to be so frivolous with the ball.
  • Another goal off a designed set piece, the first being Colombia's corner kick. The U.S. has to get better at recognizing these plays and dealing with them.

What's next?

The U.S. advances to the semifinals at Reliant Stadium in Houston, Texas. They'll face the winner of Argentina-Venezuela on Tuesday, June 21st. Argentina and Venezuela face off Saturday, June 18th in Foxborough, Massachusetts.

What did you think of the match? Let us know in the comment section.