The US Men's National Team defeated Ecuador 2-1 to advance to the semifinals of the Copa America for the first time since 1995. Clint Dempsey scored the opening goal for the US in the 22nd minute on a beautiful headed ball on a pinpoint cross by Jermaine Jones.
Jermaine Jones was given a straight red card in the 52nd minute for putting his hands in the face of a Ecuador player after a second yellow card foul by Ecuador's Luis Valencia. Both teams played the 10-men from that point forward.
Gyasi Zardes scored the USA's second goal in the 65th minute on what could be the easiest goal he ever scores. Besler sent a cross into Zardes and the ball fell to Clint Dempsey who held off a defender and lunged to send a roller to the far post. Zardes was left alone to just tap the ball into the net to give the US a 2-0 lead.
Ecuador would pull one back in the 74th minute off a free-kick that Ecuador's Michael Arroyo put past Brad Guzan and into the lower corner. The USMNT held on desperately in the final minutes of the match and held on to win 2-1 to advance to the semifinals.
The USMNT will play the winner of Argentina vs Venezuela Tuesday at 9 PM ET.
USMNT v Ecuador Player Ratings (out of 10):
Brad Guzan, 8 - Came up big on a stop right before the half. Came out of net nicely when required. Little he could do on the lone Ecuador goal.
Fabian Johnson, 6 - Switched to RB with the absence of Yedlin. Struggled at times with the skill of Ecuador but handled himself. Did not have many chances to get forward after the opening minutes of the game.
Geoff Cameron, 7.5 - Another solid game from Cameron. One awful clearance early that setup a chance for Ecuador but other than that it was a good game for Cameron.
John Brooks, 9 - Let's start with the negative first, almost had an own goal late on a mishit that ricocheted off Guzan and out for a corner. Other than that Brooks has been a wall on the back line. He made a sliding shot deflection about 8 yards out and was all over the place with clearances. Brooks has had an amazing tournament thus far.
Matt Besler, 7 - Started a LB and dealt nicely overall with the skill of Antonio Valencia. It was a decent cross to Zardes that setup the second and deciding goal.
Gyasi Zardes, 6.5 (off 94') - Zardes had a solid work-rate, worked to get back and scored the winning goal. All good things. The bad is his passing, vision and just not effective attacking option as he could be.
Michael Bradley, 6.5 - Sent a great long ball to Dempsey to start a solid scoring chance for Bedoya. Had a bad giveaway just outside the 18 but recovered. Better second half. Going to be interesting to see what the captain can do in the semifinals against Argentina more than likely.
Jermaine Jones, 5 (red card 52') - Should have been a much higher grade with his intensity and the beautiful cross to Dempsey for the opening goal, but he has to maintain his composure and cannot afford to get a straight red card for no reason at all. The US should have been playing 11 on 10 with a goal lead, but now Jones will be forced to miss the semifinal match
Alejandro Bedoya, 5.5 (off 81') - Tracked back. Gave up a lazy foul that setup the lone Ecuador goal. Could have taken his shot better or laid it off to Wood but he challenged the keeper by putting it on frame. Bedoya will have to miss the semifinal game due to yellow card accumulation.
Clint Dempsey, 8 (off 74') - Came up big in a big game. Hit the header perfectly to give the US the lead. Set up the second goal to Zardes and could have had another assist to Bedoya.
Bobby Wood, 7.5 - Gave the Ecuador backline fits all night with solid runs. Wood's runs set up both US goals on the night.
Kyle Beckerman, 6.5 (on 74') - Did his job after coming on filling up the midfield and just pestering Ecuador
Graham Zusi, 6.5 (on 81') - Gave energy and fresh legs to a team that needed it
Steve Birnbaum, N/A (on 94') - Last second sub