The USA will be severely tested this Tuesday, June 21st when they take on 2014 World Cup finalists Argentina in the semifinals of the Copa America Centenario tournament at the NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas. The host nation made it to the final four after edging Ecuador 2-1 in Seattle last Thursday night in their quarterfinal showdown. Argentina then booked their ticket to the semifinals with a convincing 4-1 victory over Venezuela on Saturday in Foxborough, Massachusetts. here’s a noticeable extra rest period for the Americans before kicking off against the former World Cup champions on Tuesday evening. Argentina is currently ranked number one in the world by FIFA with the USA coming in at 31.
USA vs Argentina – Pinnacle Sports Copa America Soccer Betting Line:
- Pinnacle currently lists Argentina as the favorites in the 90-minute match at -201 with the USA +689 and a draw at +345
USA vs Argentina – Head to Head:
- These two teams have met just nine times in the past with Argentina winning five, losing two and drawing the other two. The last meeting was in March of 2011 and ended in a 1-1 draw in the U.S. Argentina is undefeated in the past four encounters with two straight draws after a pair of victories. America’s last triumph was in June of 1999 when they posted a 1-0 clean sheet at home.
Team USA Game Preview:
Clint Dempsey proved to be the U.S. hero again against Ecuador as the Texan scored in his third straight tournament game. Dempsey put the hosts in front after 22 minutes with a perfectly placed header into the top corner of the net after being set up by Jermaine Jones and Bobby Wood. Dempsey now has 52 goals to his name for the U.S. Men’s National Team and is just five behind all-time leading scorer Landon Donovan. Dempsey has a dozen goals in his past 16 contests in the last year and is definitely the player Argentina will be keeping a close eye on with three goals and three assists in this tournament.
The Americans are facing a problem heading into the match though as Wood, Jones and Alejandro Bedoya are all suspended for the game with Argentina. Jones was issued a straight red card against Ecuador in the 52nd minute while Wood and Bedoya have accumulated too many yellow cards in the tournament and are facing a game ban. However, the U.S. soccer federation has decided to appeal the cards for Jones and Wood. This means manager Jurgen Klinsmann will have to juggle his starting lineup if the suspensions are upheld. On the bright side, defender DeAndre Yedlin returns to the lineup after serving his suspension and should play at his regular right-back position.
If Jones, Wood and Bedoya all sit out then Klinsmann may replace them with Kyle Beckerman, Darlington Nagbe and Graham Zusi while youngster Christian Pulisic is also an option are Chris Wondolowski and Perry Kitchen. Matt Besler played well at left-back against Ecuador and this may allow Klinsmann to play Fabian Johnson as a wide midfielder. The Americans will be facing the tournament favorite on Tuesday as Argentina is led by Barcelona forward Lionel Messi, who’s currently regarded by most as being the best player in the world.
Argentina Game Preview:
Argentina has outscored their opponents 14-2 in their four 2016 Copa America games up to now with Mess playing just a bit part due to injury. La Pulga has been leading the way with his four goals and two assists, but Messi also has four goals and a pair of helpers in limited duty. Gonzalo Higuain is another dangerous Argentine player and he also scored a pair against Venezuela while Messi and Erik Lamela chipped in with one each. Messi’s goals was his 54th for his country which ties him with Gabriel Batistuta for the team’s all-time lead.
USA vs Argentina – Takeaway:
The USA can advance to the quarterfinals of the Copa America Centennial tournament with a win or draw against 44th-ranked Paraguay at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia this Saturday, June 11th. The 31st-ranked Americans got off to a bad start at in the event on June 3rd when they dropped a 2-0 decision to third-ranked Colombia in their opening Group A contest. However, they made up for it with a convincing 4-0 win over 23rd-ranked Costa Rica in their second group match at Soldier Field in Chicago on June 7th. Paraguay played to a 0-0 draw with Costa Rica in their opener and were downed 2-1 by Colombia in their second outing.
by Ian S. Palmer