Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Copa America Centenario Day 16: USA hammered out of tournament by Argentina

USA 0-4 Argentina
On paper, this match was simply a blowout waiting to happen. The best team in the world with the best player in the world was going up against the little engine that could that was missing three of it's more important players.

\It didn't take long for Argentina to surgically cut the USA to pieces. After Fabian Johnson cleared the ball right to Lionel Messi, the superstar chipped a pass to an unmarked Ezequiel Lavezzi for a header past a helpless Brad Guzan, That was only the beginning of Argentina's dominance. They owned the first half hour with an iron fist. The USA was too slow to defend them and not nearly creative enough to break down their defense.

After a silly yellow card foul by Chris Wondolowski in a dangerous area, Messi did what he does best. He became Argentina's leading goal scorer with a free kick placed in the one spot that Guzan couldn't reach to make it 2-0 in the 32nd minute.

In addition to looking outclassed when defending, the USA's attack wasn't doing anything going forward. They failed to take a single shot for the entire match. None of their remote chances even came close to testing the Argentine back line. That unit was pretty bored all night long.

The second half kept the romp going. Gonzalo Higuain scored twice in the frame with the first coming off a breakaway in the 50th minute. Brad Guzan made the initial save, but he was never going to reach the follow up attempt. The fourth goal looked like a long time coming, but it came off a turnover and another great run by Higuain in the 86th minute.

Yeah, the USA was blown out in Houston tonight, but Copa America was an overall success. They surpassed the logical expectation of the quarterfinals after getting out of their difficult group on top. They even met with Jurgen Klinsmann's goal of making the semis. Yeah, they got the crap beat out of them tonight, but they cannot look at that as a knock on the program. Most sane people know that the USA is nowhere near Argentina's level. Tonight's match didn't tell us anything we didn't know about this team.

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