USA 2, Ecuador 1 | Copa America Centenario Match Recap
The US national team kept their Copa America Centenario dream alive, as they defeated Ecuador 2-1 at CenturyLink Field in Seattle on Thursday to book their place in the semifinals.
Minutes later, John Brooks continued his strong tournament with a timely block to cut out a goal-bound Michael Arroyo shot, preserving the US lead.
A player from each side was sent off in the 52nd minute, as Antonio Valencia received a second yellow card after kicking out at Alejandro Bedoya, and Jones received a straight red card in the subsequent scrum for an apparent swipe at the head of an Ecuador player.
The US doubled their lead just after the hour mark, as Gyasi Zardes ensured Dempsey's effort towards goal went in with a simple tap-in at the far post.
But Ecuador found their breakthrough in the 74th minute, as Arroyo buried a low shot through traffic off Walter Ayovi's free kick deep in the US end, and continued to pile on the pressure from there.
- 22' - USA - Clint Dempsey (Jermaine Jones)
- 65' - USA - Gyasi Zardes (Clint Dempsey)
- 74' - ECU - Michael Arroyo (Walter Ayovi)
- Full box score
- WILD RED CARD GAME SWINGS: While the teams traded chances throughout the night, the US were in control prior to the dual red cards, and Ecuador took more and more control of a chaotic game after the game went down a man on each side. From a US perspective, taking that 2-0 lead made all the difference, allowing them to weather Ecuador's goal and the plethora of chances the South Americans sent in the final stages of the match.
- DEFENSE STOUT: The goals were key, but what will likely be lost in the shuffle was the strength of the USMNT defense the past three games in the Copa America, as Arroyo's goal snapped a 302-minute US shutout run in the tournament. Make no mistake -- this win came from good performances all over the team and on both ends of the field.
- MAKING HISTORY: No matter which team would have won this game, it would have been a landmark achievement to reach the semifinals of the Copa America. In the end, the US reached the final four for the first time since 1995, the only other time they've gotten to that stage in the tournament. But Ecuador were seeking their first semifinal berth since 1993, and they have played every edition of the Copa, in contrast to the US playing just four Copa America tournaments since 1993. It's going to be a bitter result for Ecuador, no question, but a landmark night for the USMNT.
- USA: Tuesday, June 21 vs. winner of Argentina-Venezuela quarterfinal (9 pm ET, FS1, Univision, UDN)
- ECU: Eliminated from Copa America Centenario