Clint Dempsey

Clint Dempsey, USMNT advance in Copa America Centenario with win over Ecuador

SEATTLE – Seattle Sounders striker Clint Dempsey scored and added an assist as the U.S. national team continued their surprise run through the Copa America Centenario on Thursday, downing Ecuador 2-1 in their quarterfinal matchup at CenturyLink Field.


Dempsey scored his third goal in four games in the 22nd minute and set up Gyasi Zardes in the 65th to lead the Americans, who now await either Argentina or Venezuela in the semifinal round on June 21 in Houston.


Dempsey’s goal was the 52nd of his international career, inching him within five goals of all-time USMNT leading scorer Landon Donovan. Dempsey snapped a pinpoint header form eight yards out past Ecuadorian goalkeeper Alexander Dominguez off a cross from midfielder Jermaine Jones, sending the pulsating crowd of 47,322 into a frenzy of celebration for the Sounders star.


Dempsey figured prominently again after the break and with Ecuador surging for the equalizer. He pounced on a loose ball in the box after a header from Zardes and surged to the end line before placing a pass to the back post for Zardes to finish with ease.


Dempsey left the game in the 74th minute in favor or midfielder Kyle Beckerman, who came on after Ecuador cut the lead to 2-1. The goal came off the foot of Michael Arroyo, who blasted a one-timed shot into the back of the net from outside the box off a well-executed set piece.


The U.S. had other chances in the first half, but they all missed the mark. Bobby Wood took a through ball from Dempsey in the 17th minute and trickled a shot wide of the far post, and Bedoya ripped a left-footed shot into Dominguez’s stomach in the 42nd after another Dempsey pass sprung him free.


Both teams played down a man for nearly 40 minutes after a bizarre sequence of events in the 53rd minute. Jones was issued a straight red card for an altercation near the sideline with Antonio Valencia, who was also sent off for his second yellow after a rash tackle on Bedoya in front of the U.S. bench.


The red card means that Jones will miss the team’s semifinal game, while the speedy striker Wood – who has paired well with Dempsey throughout the tournament – is also suspended after he picked up a yellow card in the 53rd minute, his second of the tournament. Winger Alejandro Bedoya will also miss the game with yellow card accumulation.


Former Seattle Sounders defender DeAndre Yedlin, meanwhile, will be available for selection after serving a one-game suspension Thursday night for receiving a red card in the final game of the group stage.

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