Copa America Centenario: Clint Dempsey stars in 2-1 victory over Ecuador
Clint Dempsey squares the ball for Gyasi Zardes to tap home against Ecuador on Thursday night. (Photo credit: Francine Scott/VAVEL USA)

The United States Men's National Team defeated Ecuador 2-1 at CenturyLink Field in Seattle, Washington to advance to the semifinals of the Copa America Centenario against either Argentina or Venezuela. This means that manager Jurgen Klinsmann has reached his pre-tournament goal of reaching the last four.

Starting XI

Brad Guzan (7) - The Aston Villa goalkeeper had one goal put past him in the midst of the second half by Michael Arroyo, but his three saves across the duration of the match displayed a comfortable performance for the man between the posts.

Fabian Johnson (6) - DeAndre Yedlin was suspended for this fixture because of a red card leading to Johnson being switched over to right back. Johnson struggled to deal with Jefferson Montero's combined dribbling ability and pace, which enabled him to place decent crosses into the penalty box. However, he was able to recover and defend enough to maintain their lead from his position.

Geoff Cameron (7) - The Stoke City defender has proven to be quite solid for the duration of this tournament so far. He was rather successful in the air and in one-on-one situations but was susceptible to errors that may have proven harmful to the scoreline such as a questionable clearance and Enner Valencia's attempt on goal late in the match.

John Anthony Brooks (8.5) - Arguably the most important player in this tournament for the USA so far, the Hertha Berlin central defender repeatedly saved the Stars and Stripes. This game he managed to have eight clearances within the box and a stellar block on a Michael Arroyo effort early on.

Matt Besler (6) - A central defender placed at left back for this match. The midfield provided assistance along the flank to make sure Antonio Valencia could not sneak past him. Although he found it difficult to deal with Enner Valencia, he was a key part in Gyasi Zardes scoring the go-ahead goal.

Michael Bradley (6) - The captain's biggest highlight of the match could be the rainbow armband reading 'One Nation' in remembrance of the lives lost in Orlando this past week. Otherwise, his deeper role has provided average performances, with a lot of his passes being intercepted. His commitment supplied a better second half than the first 45 minutes.

It was hard to tell which was more inspirational: Bradley's play or his armband. (Photo credit: Francine Scott/VAVEL USA)
It was hard to tell which was more inspirational: Bradley's play or his armband. (Photo credit: Francine Scott/VAVEL USA)

Jermaine Jones (5) - Jones has been able to prove the doubters wrong on both sides of the pitch so far in the Copa America, but he immediately canceled out his pinpoint assist to Clint Dempsey by deciding to get himself sent off for putting his hands in Antonio Valencia's face. The USA will now be without him in the next round. Kyle Beckerman will likely be his replacement in the next match.

Gyasi Zardes (7) - Zardes was almost nonexistent for most of the match leading up to his goal in the second half. He rarely received the ball, but his work-rate let him fill in on defense when necessary to help secure the three points.

Alejandro Bedoya (6) - People will criticize Bedoya for not being able to finish a few chances during his game. He also received a yellow that would see him suspended from the semifinals. Darlington Nagbe could likely be his replacement in the next match.

Clint Dempsey (9) - A brilliant header to open up the scoring and an assist to Zardes for the winning goal is the match he had in simpler terms. Unfortunately, Bedoya could not add to his assist tally after putting the Nantes midfielder through on goal. A performance like this one is what the American Outlaws and the rest of American supporters would love to see for the rest of the competition.

Bobby Wood (7) - Wood did not find himself on the scoresheet, but he constantly threatened the Ecuadorian defense, which tended to break down every time he would make a run behind the line. He, like Zardes, made a defensive effort to make sure the absence of Jones would not harm the squad from progressing into the next round.

Substitutions

Kyle Beckerman (7) - Klinsmann is comfortable with placing the veteran on the pitch to clean things up and secure vital points. Beckerman sitting in a holding midfielder role is a speciality when he does not need to get creative consistently. Therefore, he did the job.

Graham Zusi (7) - The Sporting KC midfielder is probably the other option to replace Bedoya in the semifinals match. Zusi is another veteran presence that has technical abilities, but he also was vital in making sure the United States was able to defend Guzan's goal. Four key defensive stops allowed the USA to advance.

Steve Birnbaum (N/A) - A strategic move by Klinsmann to waste time at the end of the game and put fresh legs on the pitch (one minute remaining).

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