Copa America Centenario: Group A Recap
Clint Dempsey is leading the United States with two goals | Gary Duncan - VAVEL USA

Group A of the Copa America Centenario is in the books and the United States and Colombia will be moving on to the quarterfinals.

How the group ended

The USMNT finished on top of the group with six points and a positive three-goal differential. Los Cafeteros failed to hold on to the number one spot. They finished tied with the Americans in points, but where they fell behind was in goal differential. The Colombians finished just shy with a positive two-goal differential.

Costa Rica finished the group in third with four points. As for Paraguay, they ended the group stages rock bottom with one point in three matches.  

Paraguay left the Copa America with only a point and goal to their name after three games. Photo provided by VAVEL.
Paraguay left the Copa America with only a point and goal to their name after three games | Bernie Walls - VAVEL USA.

The United States come roaring back

The United States started the tournament in the worst possible way with a 2-0 defeat to Colombia on June third at Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, California. The USMNT were in a trouble and had to produce results right away.

There was no more room for error for the host country, another defeat they would be eliminated. A draw would put them at the mercy of Colombia beating Los Ticos in their final match of the group stages

The Colombians celebrating their 2-0 victory over the United States in the Copa America Centenario opener at Levi's Stadium. Photo provided by VAVEL.
The Colombians celebrating their 2-0 victory over the United States in the Copa America Centenario opener at Levi's Stadium | by Jim Malone - VAVEL USA
 

United States head coach Jurgen Klinsmann had to get his troops rallied up for the second match against their CONCACAF rivals.

The United States right away jumped on top of Los Ticos with an early goal from Clint Dempsey in the ninth minute. The Central Americans attempted to claw back but before the half ended Jermaine Jones made it 2-0 at the 37th minute. Bobby Wood put the game out of reach late in the first half with his goal in the 42nd minute.

In the second half, the United States finished off the game when Graham Zusi scored in the 87th minute, securing the 4-0 victory at Soldier Field in Chicago, Illinois on June 7th. That victory placed the United States back in control of advancing to the next round.

However, the United States still needed a victory or a draw in their last match against La Albirroja. Three points would clinch their place in the next round. The two nations faced on June 11th at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

The United States had the best start of the match with Dempsey scoring his second goal of the tournament in the 27th minute. However, at the start of the second half 22-year-old DeAndre Yedlin had a meltdown and picked up two yellow cards in less than two minutes.

The Paraguayans took over the game and created 16 shots and placed seven of them on target. However, center back John Brooks and goalkeeper Brad Guzan stepped up to keep the South American nation off the scoreboard.

Brad Guzan is the first USMNT goalkeeper to record two consecutive clean sheets in an international tournament outside of the Gold Cup in the modern era. Photo provided by VAVEL.
Brad Guzan is the first USMNT goalkeeper to record two consecutive clean sheets in an international tournament outside of the Gold Cup in the modern era | Christina Hoy - VAVEL USA

The United States went on to win the match 1-0 and were in first place for a few minutes.  The United States had to wait and see what happened in Colombia's and Costa Rica's matchup later that day at NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas to see where they finished.

Colombia's meltdown

If Colombia won or tied the match then they would win the group. Costa Rica had to beat Colombia for the United States to win the group. Los Ticos took advantage of Los Cafeteros decision to start ten new players in the match by surprising the Colombians with an early goal from Johan Venegas in the second minute.

Los Cafeteros came back and tied the match four minutes later. However, Costa Rica was determined to end the tournament with a victory and shocked the South Americans with a 3-2 win.

Costa Rica celebrating their historic 3-2 victory over Colombia at NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas. Photo provided by EFE.
Costa Rica celebrating their historic 3-2 victory over Colombia at NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas | EFE

Who the United States and Colombia will be facing in the quarterfinal round

The United States won the group by winning two consecutive games. Plus they kept two clean sheets in the process. This was the first time the U.S. had two straight shutouts in an international tournament outside of the Gold Cup, since the 2009 Confederations Cup.  

Since the United States won the group they will be facing the second place of group B, which is Ecuador. The United States and the Ecuadorians will be facing each other for the 14th time at CenturyLink Field in Seattle, Washington. 

As for the Los Cafeteros, they will be facing the winners of group B, Peru on Friday. The two South American rivals will be facing each other for the 62nd time in a span of 78-years. Los Incas and Colombia will have a CONMEBOL showdown at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey.

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