Copa America Centenario: United States qualify for knock out stages despite late Paraguay barrage
Fabian Johnson takes a free kick.

The United States took on Paraguay at Lincoln Financial Field on Friday night in the final match for both in Group A play, a must-win match for the Paraguayans.

End-to-end early on

The match was an end-to-end affair early on with Paraguay taking the initiative, threatening from the free kick on a number of occasions but Brad Guzan got the better of  Victor Ayala as he punched away his shot with confidence.  

The US would have their own set piece opportunity in the fifth minute; however, when Fabian Johnson struck a free kick from the edge of the box, producing a save from Justo Villar

That match proved physical from the get go but Paraguay would have the first chance from open play when Dario Lezcano broke free from midfield with just the keeper to beat. John Anthony Brooks, though, made a lung-busting recovery run to tackle the ball away before the Ingolstadt forward could get his shot off in the 12th minute.

Paraguay would threaten again in the 19th minute when Derlis González crossed the ball to Lezcano from the wing but Guzan rose to the challenge once again, palming the header away.  

The United States would nearly reply through Clint Dempsey in the 24th minute when he hit a free kick from right outside the box, but the shot would sail just over the goal as both teams continued to search for the opening goal. 

United States opens it up

The United States would, however, be the ones to find the opening goal in the 27th minute when Gyasi Zardes' low cross into the box found the feet of Clint Dempsey who made no mistake from five yards out. 

Brad Guzan would again be called into action by Dario Lezcano in the 45th minute. 

The momentum would shift toward the United States late in the first half, but despite the best efforts from Bobby Wood, the Americans could not find a second goal before the half time whistle. 

Disaster strikes early in the second half

The second half would start disastrously for the United States as DeAndre Yedlin would garner two yellows within the space of a minute for a foul and dissent but Paraguay failed to capitalize on the ensuing free kick with Ayala hitting it wide of goal. 

Paraguay would subsequently establish a rhythm in possession but couldn't create a solid chance on goal before Bobby Wood played Gyasi Zardes into the box but the LA Galaxy man would flub his shot as Villar collected it with ease.  

The Paraguayans would continue to search for the equalizer in the final fifteen minutes but would fail to get a shot on goal once again when Lezcano's curling effort went wide in the 75th minute. 

Brad Guzan would come up against Lezcano once again in the 81st minute but he rose to the occasion when faced with a barrage of Paraguayans shots

Guzan throws the ball out following a save
Guzan throws the ball out following a save

Desperation continued for Paraguay late on when they had equalized in the 89th minute only for the goal to be waved off for offsides but despite their best efforts, they couldn't find an equalizer as the United States held on to secure a birth to the knockout stage. 

The result means the United States move onto the knock out stage to face either Brazil, Ecuador, or Peru depending on Sunday's results.

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