SEATTLE, Sporting Alert – Hosts USA and Ecuador go in search of a semi-final place at the Copa America Centenario when they face-off on Thursday night at CenturyLink Field in Seattle.
GOAL! USA 2-1 EUADOR (Arroyo, 74)
Michael Arroyo fires past Brad Guzan from just outside the area to pull a goal back for Ecuador from a set piece. The score is now 2-1 and should have even been 2-2, but for a bad miss from Enner Valencia. Game on now.
GOAL! USA 2-0 EUADOR (Zardes, 65)
Clint Dempsey scores one and sets up one, as he fought his way into the box and then cross for Gyasi Zardes to tap home into an empty net. Both teams are playing with 10 players after a sideline scuffle saw Antonio Valencia and Jermaine Jones both sent off.
GOAL! USA 1-0 EUADOR (Dempsey, 22)
Clint Dempsey heads the U.S. into the lead in the 22 minutes. Jermaine Jones with the assist with a cross from the right.
Matt Besler comes in to replace the suspended DeAndre Yedlin as USA head coach Jurgen Klinsmann makes one change to the team that started the last three game at the tournament.
Besler will join John Brooks, Geoff Cameron and Fabian Johnson in a back four that has only conceded twice in the tournament and his coming off back-to-back clean sheets.
Besides that, the rest of the lineup remains, with Clint Dempsey being partnered by Gyasi Zardes and Bobby Wood in the attack.
Since the 2-0 loss to Colombia in the opening game of the Copa America Centenario, the Americans have looked like a team on a mission – brushing aside Costa Rica 4-0 and then beating Paraguay 2-0 to book a quarterfinals spot.
Thursday night’s clash with Ecuador has been regarded by many as the ideal matchup for the U.S. and Klinsmann urges his team to shake off the underdog mentality and ‘be courageous’ in the hunt for a last four spot.
“I think it’s important that you stick to your beliefs and what you want to build,” Klinsmann said at his news conference on Wednesday.
“Obviously, you adjust to certain moments in the game.
“If it requires we drop a second you can do that too. We can hit them with counter breaks.
“In general, our back line is doing a good job so far and going eye to eye with [teams].
“We tell them tomorrow, be courageous, go at them. It’s a 90-minute battle.”
VALENCIA BOYS LEAD TRAVELERS
Enner Valencia and Antonio Valencia are both starters for Ecuador, with Walter Ayovi, Michael Arroyo, Carlos Gruezo and Jefferson Montero also starting for the CONMEBOL side.
The United States and Ecuador met in a Copa America warmup friendly game on May 25, and a 90th-minute volley by Darlington Nagbe goal, his first international goal, separated the two sides in the 1-0 win for the CONCACAF side.
Round two, however, is expected to be a different battle, with Ecuador expected to make adjustments from the side that lined up in the friendly.
Forwards Clint Dempsey and Enner Valencia head into this battle as the main contributors for their respective teams.
In his three games in the tournament thus far, Dempsey has scored two goals and assisted on two other for USA, while Valencia has also scored twice and assisted on two for the South Americans.
Watch Live TV Channel: Fox Sports 1 USA
Online Streaming: Fox Soccer 2GO USA
USA Team: Guzan, Brooks, Cameron, Johnson, Besler, Jones, Bradley, Bedoya, Zardes, Wood, Dempsey.
Ecuador Team: Domínguez, Erazo, Mina Meza, Ayoví, Paredes, Arroyo, Noboa, Gruezo, Montero, Antonio Valencia, Enner Valencia.