Seattle – Ecuador didn’t know what to do with Clint Dempsey this Thursday, and the United States moves to the semifinals. With a final score of 2–1 the North American team continues its winning streak eliminating the Latin American selection.
The United States’ soccer team and Ecuador’s eleven faced each other in the first game of quarterfinals. The CenturyLink Field was the scenario where this two opponents gave it all for the win, and even though the game was very close, the Ecuadorians just could not handle the man of the match.
Gustavo Quintero’s men left everything in the match, and they displayed a relentless offensive. Their tactic was very straight forward. They were going to break the U.S. defense by force. However, U.S. Coach Klinsmann knew that strategy defeats tactics, and the North American team took advantage of every single mistake made by the Ecuadorians to create an offensive. In fact, USA’s eleven managed to steal the ball whooping 36 times which clearly shows the man in the suit could clearly see through Quintero’s tactic.
Dempsey scored his third goal in the competition
The man of the match, Clint Dempsey, opened the score again. At minute 22, Jermaine Jones managed to outperform the defenders at the right band which allowed him to get in the position to give a perfect service. Like a repetition from his goals in Europe, Dempsey jumped to intercept the ball midair with a header putting the ball in the top right corner completely out of Alexander Domínguez’ reach.
The Americans were playing a dangerous game, and Ecuador’s offensive starting building up which explains why the Latin American team shot the arch defended by Guzan 13 times, almost twice USA’s attempts, but time after time, the ball crashed on the defense or was blocked by a very busy goalkeeper. However, near the end of the first half, Michael Arroyo shot at point black, and even though Guzan blocked it, it had a powerful effect as the Ecuadorian’s attack gained momentum.
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The second half started, and it was pretty much the same, but Ecuador’s attack got much fiercer. Still, the U.S. selection had ice in their veins, and they saw a lethal flaw in their opponent’s defense. It seemed like Jermaine Jones was always able to outdo the defense in the right band.
The North American team exploited this weakness as much as they could, and at minute 65, they penetrated Ecuador’s defense by the right flank to give a service to the area. Mr. Dempsey then took the ball entered deep into Domínguez’ turf to provide a perfect service that Gyasi Zardes pushed into the net for the second goal of the game.
But this majestic play set on fire the Ecuadorian selection. The attack intensified, and Michael Arroyo, who had tried to score many times in the game, transformed a beautiful center into a powerful shot that traveled through the air just a couple inches from the ground. All Guzan could do was try and watch as the ball violently shook the net. With almost 20 minutes left, Ecuador was back in the game.
It is in this kind of situations when things get tense, and Enner Valencia shot his team in the leg. In an act of pure insanity, Valencia kicked Alejandro Bedoya after losing the ball, and the referee didn’t think twice to give him a second yellow card. The situation scaled up as both team’s players gathered around Valencia, but just as things were cooling down, Jermaine Jones “slapped” a man from Ecuador. At that moment, even the Colombian referee, Wilmer Roldan, lost his temper and gave a straight red card to Mr. Jones leaving both teams with ten men. The Ecuadorians were lucky for not being left in disadvantage, but they lost momentum.
Ecuador got close a couple of times, but in the end, USA’s defense was too much. The final score was 2-1 favoring the locals. Klinsmann is going to have a hard time at semifinals because forward Bobby Woods and midfielder Alejandro Bedoya both got their second yellow card which means they will have to see the next the game from the bench with Jones.
Saturday, Venezuela and Argentina will meet at the Gillette Stadium to determine who is going to be the local’s opponent at the semifinal. The game’s going to be on at 7 p.m. E.T.
Source: Copa America