Copa America 2016: USA 2-1 Ecuador - 5 talking points
The USA survived a late onslaught by Ecuador as the hosts held on to win 2-1 and progressed to the semi-finals of the Copa America 2016. In one of the most engaging clashes of the tournament so far, the US went ahead in the 22nd minute after Clint Dempsey struck a wonderful header before Gyasi Zardes made it 2-0 midway in the second half, albeit, not before both sides were reduced to 10-men.
Ecuador, staring at elimination, were not to be bogged down as they pressed relentlessly. Their efforts paid off when Michael Arroyo halved the deficit 15 minutes from time, but Los Amarillos just couldn’t get the all-important equaliser.
The USMNT breathed a sigh of relief as they were let off the hook and booked a place in the last four of the competition. We glance through some of the talking points that shaped the game.
1) City of Seattle served a treat
Interestingly, this was only the second time that the US men’s national football team played at the CenturyLink Field in Seattle, and the city was served an absolute treat as the hosts and Ecuador played out a thrilling contest that met with an equalling thrilling finish.
Playing in Washington’s largest city for the first time since 2013, this match bore special significance to the Yanks and also the hoi polloi of Seattle. And the first quarter-final of this year’s Copa America made sure it lived up to all the hoopla in its build-up by producing a gripping contest.
The US, dominant for large spells, were sailing through to the semis with a 2-0 win, but Ecuador’s valiant show in the final few minutes raised the thrill factor up by a notch. Gustavo Quinteros’ side did manage to conjure a few good chances late in the game, but the home side held firm to deny any last-minute bumps.
The full-time whistle sent ripples across the stadium as the USA emerged victorious, which was just the icing on the cake for the bacchanalic fans.