The United States took a step closer to the Copa America Centenario final after they edged past Ecuador in their quarter-final at the CenturyLink Field in Seattle. Clint Dempsey and Gyasi Zardes scored for Jurgen Klinsmann’s men while Michael Arroyo grabbed a goal for Ecuador.  

 

It was a spirited performance by the United States in front of their home fans as they beat Ecuador 2-1 on Thursday. Dempsey opened the scoring for the hosts in the 21st minute, while Zardes netted another in the second half to double his side’s advantage. Arroyo scored late on for the team in yellow, but it proved to be nothing more than a consolation. The feisty encounter also had its unpleasant moments, with two players from either team receiving a red card.

With a semifinal berth on the line, both teams went for the kill from the opening whistle. It was the United States who drew first blood as their prolific attacker Clint Dempsey headed home a peach of a ball played by Jermaine Jones to give his side the lead in the 21st minute.

The United States held on to their slender one-goal cushion as the half drew to a close despite a late onslaught by Ecuador.

In the 52nd minute, the intensity went up a notch as there was a coming together between Ecuador player Antonio Valencia and the United States’ Alejandro Bedoya. The Manchester United player, who was already cautioned in the first period, received another yellow for the tackle. In a shocking turn of events, United States’ goal provider Jones appeared to have said something after the sending off which saw him receive a straight red card.

SEATTLE, WA - JUNE 16: Antonio Valencia #16 of Ecuador walks off the pitch after being sent away against the United States during the 2016 Quarterfinal - Copa America Centenario match at CenturyLink Field on June 16, 2016 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)

Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

Zardes’ 65th minute strike gave the United States a comfortable two-goal lead to hold on to until the final whistle. Ecuador midfielder Arroyo scored one in the 74th minute sparking hopes of a comeback, but it wasn’t to be, as Jurgen Klinsmann’s US side made it to the semi-final of the Copa America Centenario. The hosts will now take on the winners of the Argentina vs Venenzuela quarter-final in the next round.

Post-match reactions 

After the match, a very animated Jurgen Klinsmann criticised the fourth official for his handling of the incident involving Jermaine Jones. “Unfortunately we lost Jermaine for that incident, which is an absolute joke because it was right there and the fourth official made that decision. Not the referee,” the German is quoted as saying by Fox Sports. “The referee didn’t see it. He followed the advice of the fourth official out there and it’s a disgrace.”

United States manager Jürgen Klinsmann speaks during a press conference for the Copa America Centenario football tournament in Seattle, Washington on June 15, 2016. / AFP / Jason Redmond (Photo credit should read JASON REDMOND/AFP/Getty Images)

JASON REDMOND/AFP/Getty Images

Here’s how the game played out on Twitter:

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