USA take on Ecuador in the the first quarterfinal of the Copa America Centenario as Jurgen Klinsmann’s men look to make full use of their home advantage in their bid to qualify for the semi-finals.

The US will host the feisty Ecuadorians in Seattle’s Century Link Field stadium in the first quarter final tie of the Copa America Centenario.

It hasn’t been a dream run to the knockout stages for the hosts. They were beaten 0-2 by Colombia in their opening Copa America fixture, but did manage to put that behind them to dish out a 4-0 thumping to Costa Rica, and sealed qualification with a narrow 1-0 against Paraguay.

Ecuador on the other hand, barely made it to the knockout rounds, starting off with a stutter, but finishing off with style. They managed to hold Brazil to a 0-0 draw in their opening match and followed it up with a 2-2 thriller against Peru. Brazil’s controversial loss to Peru after Los Amarillos’ 4-0 thrashing of minnows Haiti sealed qualification for Gustavo Quinteros’ men.

Team News & Tactics

USA

Jurgen Klinsmann will be without DeAndre Yedlin, who will be serving his suspension after picking up his second yellow card during their 1-0 win against Paraguay. Klinsmann is expected to setup his team in a 4-4-2 formation, which could later become a 4-1-3-2 after substitutions, with Bradley dropping deep in order to provide cover for center-backs Brooks and Cameron.

Yedlin’s suspension will likely see Micheal Orozco come in at right back. Bedoya and Zardes on the wings may also be deployed as attacking midfielders on the left and right side respectively, if Bradley and Jones both decide to drop deep. With the Ecuadorians’ pace and ability to cut into the middle from their wings, we will likely see the midfield duo drop deeper and defend more than they would’ve liked. Bobby Wood and Clint Dempsey have formed a decent partnership upfront and their understanding seems to have improved over the course of the tournament. They will lead the line against Ecuador’s Achilier and Mina.

Predicted Starting XI (4-4-2): Guzan; Johnson, Brooks, Cameron, Orozco; Bedoya, Jones, Bradley, Zardes; Wood, Dempsey
Copa2016 vs Ecuador

Ecuador

The “Valencias” from West Ham and Manchester United are expected to start for Ecuador against the United States on Friday, with Enner playing as the primary striker and Antonio on the right wing. Bolanos will drop deep to be a part of the midfield on occasion.

Christian Noboa and Carlos Gruezo, Ecuador’s two holding midfielders will be crucial to their hopes of a victory as they will be tasked with destroying USA’s attacking play. Ecuador’s biggest attacking threat would be the combination of Walter Ayovi and Jefferson Montero on the left flank. The duo work together brilliantly and Micheal Orozco and Zardes are sure to have their hands full the entire game.

As mentioned earlier, Miller Bolanos will drop deeper into midfield and assume a more creative role, like that of a makeshift attacking midfielder.

Predicted Starting XI (4-4-2): Dominguez; Ayovi, Mina, Achilier, Paredes; Montero,Noboa,Gruezo, A Valencia; Bolanos, E ValenciaCopa2016 vs USA

Key Stats

  • The United States have never lost at Century Link Field.
  • 6 USMNT players have played every single minute in the tounament. They are Bradley, Brooks, Cameron, Guzan, Johnson and Zardes.
  • Ecuador have never earned a finish higher than 4th place in the Copa America.
  • Dempsey’s appearance today will make him the 4th highest capped player in USMNT history.

Prediction

USA 2-1 Ecuador

It’ll surely be a close call, with both teams desperate to progress further. The winner will be the team which manages to keep their collective nerve. It’s sure to be a high pressure game, but the US have the technical ability, the defensive backing and the firepower upfront to pull out a victory out of this one. Dempsey and Wood will be relied upon to take the few chances that USA will be expected to make with their pace and athleticism. The South American side will be un-relenting in their attack and it will be up to the likes of Brooks, Johnson and Cameron to make sure that the US don’t get kicked out their own party too soon.

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