HOUSTON (June 21, 2016) – The U.S. Men’s National Team was defeated 4-0 by the world’s No. 1 team Argentina before a sellout crowd of 70,858 at NRG Stadium in the Semifinals of the 2016 Copa America Centenario.
Argentina got off to a quick start when Ezequiel Lavezzi headed home the opening goal in just the third minute. The U.S. gamely battled back, but found itself in a deeper hole when Lionel Messi curled an inch-perfect shot from 25 yards into the upper right corner for the 2-0 halftime lead.
The second frame followed a similar script as the U.S. fought to get back in the game through the offensive play of second half subs Christian Pulisic and Darlington Nagbe in between Gonzalo Higuain’s strike within the first five minutes of the restart and game capping goal four minutes from time.
The U.S. moves on to the tournament’s Third Place match against the loser of Wednesday’s other Semifinal between Colombia and reigning Copa America champion Chile. The Third Place match will be broadcast live on FX, Univision and UDN this Saturday at 8 p.m. ET. Fans can also follow the action on Twitter @ussoccer and @ussoccer_esp.
Goal Scoring Rundown:
ARG – Ezequiel Lavezzi (Lionel Messi), 3rd minute: From an early corner kick, the ball was partially cleared to the top of the U.S. box where Messi waited to collect any loose ball. The U.S. defense pushed out and Messi lifted an exquisite one-time chip into the path of Lavezzi who nodded a deft header over U.S. goalkeeper Brad Guzan for the early lead. USA 0, ARG 1
ARG – Lionel Messi, 32nd minute: After winninga free kick in the center of the field 27 yards from the U.S. goal, Messi sent a world-class free kick into the upper, right-hand corner of the goal to become Argentina’s all-time goal scoring leader. USA 0, ARG 2
ARG – Gonzalo Higuain, 50th minute: In the course of a counter attack, Argentina sent the ball to Lavezzi on the left wing and he whipped a cross toward the penalty spot where Higuain was ending his run. Having got behind the U.S. defense, Higuain attempted a one-time redirection on goal that Guzan was able to save; however, the rebound fell right to the Argentina striker, who controlled the ball and rounded a recovering Guzan to tap the ball into the empty net. USA 0, ARG 3
ARG – Gonzalo Higuain (Lionel Messi), 86th minute: On a late turnover in the U.S. defensive third, Messi collected the loose ball and pushed into the U.S. penalty area before cutting the ball back to the penalty spot for Higuain to tap home. USA 0, ARG 4 FINAL
Next on the Schedule: The U.S. MNT continues the 2016 Copa America Centenario in the Third Place match against the loser between Colombia and Chile, who play on Wednesday night in the competition’s other Semifinal at 7 p.m. CT in Chicago. The Third Place match will be played at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Ariz., on June 25 at 8 p.m. ET.
Broadcast information: FX, Univision, UDN
Social: Twitter (@ussoccer; @ussoccer_esp); Facebook; Instagram
- Three changes were made to the starting lineup from the 2-1 win against Ecuador, all due to the one-game suspensions for Alejandro Bedoya, Jermaine Jones and Bobby Wood. Graham Zusi, Kyle Beckerman and Chris Wondolowski all made their first starts of the tournament in place of Bedoya, Jones and Wood.
- Zusi had entered as a substitute in all four previous matches in the tournament, scoring the final goal against Costa Rica that made the difference for the U.S. to finish first in Group A on goal difference.
- Beckerman appeared as a sub in the three previous matches, while Wondolowski made his tournament debut.
- Seventeen-year-old winger Christian Pulisic saw his second shift of the tournament, coming on at halftime for Wondolowski.
- Midfielder Darlington Nagbe also got his second taste of the competition, coming on in the 78th minute for Clint Dempsey.
- Steve Birnbaum got his first extended experience in the tournament, replacing Beckerman in the 60th minute; he had previously come on in second half stoppage time vs. Ecuador.
- Michael Bradley and Gyasi Zardes have both played in 11 of 12 MNT games in 2016, tied for the team lead.
- U.S. Men’s National Team Match Report -
Match: U.S. Men’s National Team vs. Argentina
Date: June 21, 2016
Competition: 2016 Copa America Centenario - Semifinals
Venue: NRG Stadium; Houston, Texas
Kickoff: 8 p.m. CT
Attendance: 70,858 (sellout)
Weather: 80 degrees; Partly cloudy
Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
USA 0 0 0
ECU 2 2 4
ARG – Ezequiel Lavezzi (Lionel Messi) 3rd minute
ARG – Lionel Messi 32
ARG – Gonzalo Higuain 50
ARG – Gonzalo Higuain (Lionel Messi) 86
USA: 1-Brad Guzan; 2-DeAndre Yedlin, 20-Geoff Cameron, 6-John Brooks, 23-Fabian Johnson; 19-Graham Zusi, 4-Michael Bradley (capt.), 15-Kyle Beckerman (3-Steve Birnbaum, 60), 9-Gyasi Zardes; 8-Clint Dempsey (10-Darlington Nagbe, 78), 18-Chris Wondolowski (17-Christian Pulisic, 46)
Subs not used: 5-Matt Besler, 12-Tim Howard, 14-Michael Orozco, 16-Perry Kitchen, 21-Edgar Castillo, 22-Ethan Horvath
Not available: 7-Bobby Wood, 11-Alejandro Bedoya , 13-Jermaine Jones
Head Coach: Jurgen Klinsmann
ARG: 1-Sergio Romero; 16-Marcos Rojo (15-Victor Cuesta, 84), 13-Ramiro Funes-Mori, 17-Nicolas Otamendi, 4-Gabriel Mercado; 8-Augusto Fernandez (6-Lucas Biglia, 59), 14-Javier Mascherano, 19-Ever Banega; 22-Ezequiel Lavezzi (18-Erik Lamela, 67), 9-Gonzalo Higuain, 10-Lionel Messi (capt.)
Subs not used: 2-Jonathan Maidana, 3-Facundo Roncaglia, 5-Matias Kranevitter, 7-Angel Di Maria, 11-Sergio Aguero, 12-Nahuel Guzman, 21-Javier Pastore, 23-Mariano Andujar
Not Available: 20-Nicolas Gaitan
Head Coach: Gerardo Martino
Stats Summary: USA / ARG
Shots: 0 / 14
Shots on Goal: 0 / 9
Saves: 5 / 0
Corner Kicks: 1 / 4
Fouls: 12 / 7
Offside: 2 / 9
USA – Chris Wondolowski (caution) 31st minute
Referee: Enrique Caceres (PAR)
Assistant Referee 1: Eduardo Cardozo (PAR)
Assistant Referee 2: Milciades Saldivar (PAR)
4th Official: Roddy Zambrano (ECU)
Budweiser Man of the Match: TBARead more
The U.S. Men’s National Team is riding a three-game winning streak heading into a Copa America Centenario Semifinal against Argentina on Tuesday night at NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas. Leading the scoring effort is the team’s lone Texas native, Clint Dempsey of Nacogdoches, population 30,000.
It’s only fitting after scoring his latest goal at CenturyLink Field, the home of his club team Seattle Sounders FC, Dempsey and the MNT are preparing for Tuesday’s Semifinal in The Lone Star State, less than 150 miles south of his home town.
“I’m proud to represent Nacogdoches,” said Dempsey. “Anytime you can play in front of family it’s always nice. I owe a lot to where I’m from.”
Dempsey’s goal-scoring streak began on June 7 against Costa Rica with a successful penalty kick in the eighth minute. The marker was the 50th of his international career, providing the U.S. the distinction of becoming the first CONCACAF nation with two all-time 50-goal scorers. The stretch continued with a driven left-footed shot eight yards from goal thanks to a low cross from Zardes against Paraguay.
Dempsey has efficiently climbed near the top of the tournament’s golden boot standings with three goals – the first in each of the MNT’s last three games – trailing Chile forward Eduardo Vargas, whose four goals against Mexico pushed his total to six, and five-time FIFA World Player of the Year Lionel Messi, who has four coming into Tuesday’s Semifinal.
His latest tally came in the 22nd minute of last Thursday’s 2-1 Quarterfinal victory against Ecuador. Bobby Wood possessed the ball at the left edge of the 18 and found space to play a backwards pass to an unmarked Jermaine Jones at the top corner of the box. Dempsey met Jones’ cross at the penalty spot and sent a forceful header to the right of the diving goalkeeper.
U.S. head coach Jurgen Klinsmann shared high praise for the veteran forward following the match.
“Clint is special,” Klinsmann said. “He showed that tonight. He showed that the last couple weeks and he’s showed that throughout his entire career. This performance from him tonight in front of his home crowd was unbelievable.”
But Dempsey wasn’t done yet. The USA was clinging to a 1-0 lead when Dempsey found his way on the score sheet for a second time, this time with an assist. Matt Besler sent a swinging cross to Gyasi Zardes at the penalty spot, who headed the ball to Dempsey eight yards away from the goal. Dempsey took a touch toward the frame, followed by a left-footed shot across the face of the goal past the diving keeper. Zardes, originally in line for the assist, charged toward the mouth of the goal and slammed the ball into the back of the net to ensure the score, his first of the tournament.
With the assist, Dempsey also leads the competition with three helpers heading into the semifinal. Following the win against Ecuador, Dempsey displayed his usual humble personality and expressed gratitude for his teammates providing him the opportunity to score.
"I've been blessed that I was able to step up and hopefully I can keep going," Dempsey said. "I thought we played well. I thought we created some good chances in front of goal. We were unlucky not to score more."Read more