U.S. reach Copa America semis with 2-1 win over Ecuador

Fri Jun 17, 2016 12:33am EDT
 
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(Reuters) - The United States survived a late onslaught to beat Ecuador 2-1 and advance to the semi-finals of the Copa America for the first time since 1995 after a pulsating and sometime fractious match in Seattle on Thursday.

Clint Dempsey and Gyasi Zardes scored for the U.S. either side of half time and Michael Arroyo got one back for Ecuador in a game that saw one player from each side sent off and the Ecuador coach banished to the stands.

Ecuador came into the game more after Antonio Valencia and Jermaine Jones were shown red cards in the 51st minute but the hosts prevailed to set up a semi-final against either Argentina or Venezuela in Houston next Tuesday.

"We've come so far now and now we get even hungrier for the next step," said U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann.

"The team performance was outstanding. They were helping each other all over the field."

Dempsey, a striker who plays for local club Seattle Sounders, got the opener for the U.S. after 21 minutes when he rose to head home a deft cross from Jones.

He almost got a second four minutes later but his angled-drive was well saved and Alejandro Bedoya should have done better when Dempsey's pass left him with a shot on goal that Alexander Dominguez got down well to smother.

At the other end, Brad Guzan did well to turn an Enner Valencia shot round the post as he honed in on goal.

Then came the dismissals with Antonio Valencia sent off for a second yellow after hacking down Bedoya and his fellow midfielder Jones harshly shown a straight red for raising his hand in the ensuing scuffle.   Continued...

 
United States forward Clint Dempsey (8) dribbles while defended by Ecuador defender Frickson Erazo (3) and midfielder Fernando Gaibor (8) during the second half of quarter-final play in the 2016 Copa America Centenario soccer tournament at Century Link Field. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports