It looked bleak for the US Men’s National Team after they lost their opening game of the Copa America Centenario to Colombia, but the US bounced back to win their next two games and finish first in the group, thanks not only to a dramatic and heroic 1-0 win over Paraguay, but also to Costa Rica beating Colombia 3-2. Now the stakes are higher and the rewards are greater as the USA progresses into the knockout rounds. Next up is a quarter-final game against a foe the US should be familiar with, having just played them three weeks ago: Ecuador.
The best player of the tournament so far for the US has been defender John Brooks. The knock on Brooks has long been that he hasn’t been able to fully translate his outstanding club form to the national team. In fact, many experts blame Brooks for the US’ poor showing at the 2015 Gold Cup. But all of that is in the past as the defender has been dominant since being called into the pre-tournament camp. His growth was exemplified on Saturday against Paraguay when he stopped a 3-1 Paraguayan counter attack. However it was not all sunshine and roses for the US defense on Saturday as DeAndre Yedlin picked up two silly yellow cards within 30 seconds of each other and was sent off, forcing the US to play a man down for the entire second half. Yedlin will be suspended for the Ecuador game.
Ecuador finished second in their group behind shock winner Peru, meaning that Brazil, of all teams, failed to make it to the knockout rounds. Ecuador got their tournament off to a decent start, getting a 0-0 draw against Brazil, though they feel they had the winning goal wrongly disallowed. They then played a thrilling 2-2 draw against Peru, before thrashing a hapless Haiti side 4-0. Their leading scorer for the tournament is West Ham striker Enner Valencia, with two goals from three games.
• DeAndre Yedlin was just the third player sent off for the US during Jurgen Klinsmann’s tenure. The others were Jozy Altidore in 2015 and Geoff Cameron in 2012.
• The US returns to Seattle for the first time since a World Cup Qualifier against Panama in 2013.
• Jurgen Klinsmann started the same lineup for a record third straight game, but will be forced to alter it with the suspension of Yedlin.
USA trails 3-5-5
May 25, 2016
USA 1-0 Ecuador
Current FIFA ranking
If the USA wins, they’ll play either Argentina or Venezuela on Tuesday, June 21.
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