PHILADELPHIA — A Clint Dempsey goal in the 27th minute and a string defensive performance was enough for the United States to defeat Paraguay and advance to the knockout stage of the Copa America Centenario.
Good defense and taking advantage of their opportunities was the key for success for the U.S.
Despite the win the U.S. had trouble creating important chances, the team found the back if the net when it mattered the most. Gyasi Zardes stole the ball in the Paraguayan half and sent a low cross that Dempsey sent to the back of the net.
Paraguay had been slightly better until that point but a costly turnover put them behind in the scoreboard.
2) Lack of play-making
Since Paraguay was the team that needed to win they came out with more intensity. However throughout the game they lacked clarity in the final third of the field and excluding a couple of chances Paraguay failed to do enough to put the U.S.
Same story with the U.S., their first meaningful attack resulted in the goal and felt comfortable allowing the minutes to pass by and without sending numbers forward.
3) Key moments
The best chance for Paraguay that could’ve completely changed the game came in the 11th minute when in a counterattack Paraguay had a 3-on-1 but John Brook managed to stay in position and deny Miguel Almiron who couldn’t take a shot before Brooks’ challenge.
Just before halftime Dario Lezcano had another chance although the angle wasn’t great he had an one on one with Brad Guzan but took a weak shot that was easily saved by Guzan.
Gyasi Zardes also had an important chance in the 62nd to seal the win but Justo Villar was able to snatch the ball away from him before he was able take a shot.
The closest Paraguay came to the equalizer was in the 82nd minute when Guzan pulled a double save , the first was a shot from Jorge Benitez who dribbled past a couple of defenders, then Lezcano found the rebound which once again was saved by Guzan.
4) Yedlin loses his mind
Just as the second half got underway DeAndre Yedlin made a slide tackle on Almiron which was a bit too harsh and earned a yellow card and less than a minute later he committed another reckless challenge from behind and earned a second yellow to get sent off.
Yedlin is now set to miss the quarterfinal game.
With the win the U.S. earned three more points to secure their ticket to quarterfinals and now has to wait on Colombia’s result to know when and where they’ll play next.
UPDATE: Colombia presented an alternative line-up and paid for their mistake with a 3-2 loss to Costa Rica. With this result the U.S. win the group and will play the runner-up of Group B most likely Ecuador or Peru in Seattle on June 16 meanwhile Colombia will face the Group B winner on June 17 in East Rutherford.