After a rocky start to Copa America 2016, the U.S Men’s National Team has a date with Argentina in the semifinals tonight in Houston at NRG Stadium. After losing to Colombia, the U.S team battled back strong with a dominating victory against Costa Rica and a gutsy win against Paraguay, punching their ticket to the Quarterfinals. Clint Dempsey led the way with a goal and an assist, as second half sub Kyle Beckerman came in to help the defense hold on late. It was a close game, but the Americans had enough left in the tank to hold off a talented Ecuador team and advance to the Semifinals.
Argentina cruised through the group stage as expected, putting up 10 goals and only allowing one, even without star Lionel Messi in their first game. He would return in their second game to collect a hat trick in the second half against Panama. In their last group stage game against Bolivia the Argentinians let the young guns take the lead as they sailed smoothly to a 3-0 win. After a nice warm up in the Group stage Messi was finally ready for his first start in Copa America 2016 against Venezuela in the Quarterfinals. Superstar forward Gonzalo Higuaín netted two quick goals in the first half and Messi slammed the door shut with a goal in the 60th as they pounded the Venezuelans 4-1. Copa America 2016 favorite Argentina now has their sights set on the Red, White and Blue for a tango in the Semifinals.
The moment this USA vs. Argentina game became official, the Americans were ruled out, but as ESPN legend Lee Corso says “not so fast my friend!” Team USA is ready for the challenge and is on the brink of history. A win tonight would be an enormous achievement for USA, as they have only played in one other final in a major international tournament (excluding the CONCACAF Gold Cup). It was back in 2009 when they shocked the world against Spain in the Confederations Cup 2-0, only to lose a heartbreaker against Brazil 3-2 in the final. They will have to pull off this upset without three of their starters, Jermaine Jones (red card), Alejandro Bedoya and Bobby Wood (yellow card accumulation). Klinsmann will have a difficult task in finding their replacements. Earthquakes forward Chris Wondolowski could benefit from the players’ absence.
Argentina enter the game as the number one team in the FIFA world rankings. The United States holds a 3-8-1 all time record against number one teams. The last time USA played a number one ranked team was in 2015 against Germany where they were victorious 2-1. Can the U.S be the Cinderella story tonight? Tune in to FS1, Univision or UDN at 6 p.m. PT to find out.