USMNT

Copa America Scenarios: What to know as the USMNT battles Costa Rica

Despite what Jurgen Klinsmann has said this week, tonight's Copa America Centenario match against old foe Costa Rica (5 pm EPT; FS1, Univision, UDN) isn't technically a must-win game for the US national team.


It is, however, a can't-afford-to-lose match.


The US are in fourth-place in Group A after falling to Colombia 2-0 in the tournament opener on Friday. A loss tonight would end the US's chances of reaching the quarterfinals.


While they're certainly not in ideal position, the USMNT do still have a few roads to the Copa quarters. A win against Los Ticos in Chicago would put Klinsmann and Co. in a good spot to qualify for the Knockout Round heading into Saturday's Group A finale against Paraguay. A draw would take things out of their hands, but the US would still be alive. A loss, as mentioned above, would bring it all tumbling down.


USMNT lose and ...

Say goodbye to the Copa. A loss against Costa Rica would eliminate the US. The Americans would have zero points and at least two teams in the group, no matter the outcome of the Colombia-Paraguay match, would have four.


USMNT beat Costa Rica and ...

COLOMBIA BEAT PARAGUAY: Easily the most straightforward outcome for the US. They'd be in second-place in the group with three points, three points behind leaders Colombia, who would clinch a spot in the quarters. Paraguay and Costa Rica would be tied for last with one point apiece. Under this scenario, The US would qualify for the quarterfinals with a victory against Paraguay. They could even advance with a draw in the finale, if Costa Rica lose/draw against Colombia or if Costa Rica beat Colombia but finish behind the US on goal difference.


PARAGUAY BEAT COLOMBIA: A Paraguay win against Los Cafeteros would seriously shake up Group A. They'd be in first-place with four points, the US and Colombia would be tied on three and Costa Rica would bring up the rear with one. In this scenario, The US would qualify for the quarters with a win against Paraguay. They could also move on with a draw against Paraguay if Costa Rica win/draw against Colombia and the US wins the resulting tiebreaker against either team.


COLOMBIA-PARAGUAY DRAW: A US win and a Colombia-Paraguay draw would put Colombia in first with four points, the US in second on three, Paraguay in third with two and Costa Rica in last with one. Again, under this scenario, The US would advance to the quarters with a win against Paraguay on Saturday. They would also make it through with a draw in Philly coupled with a Costa Rica loss/draw against Colombia. A US draw paired with a Costa Rica victory would leave the US, Colombia and Costa Rica tied on four points and at the mercy of the tiebreakers.


USMNT draw and ...

COLOMBIA BEAT PARAGUAY: Colombia would clinch Group A with six points through two matches. Costa Rica would be in second with two points, while the US and Paraguay would be tied for last with one point each. The US would then need some help from Colombia in order to qualify for the quarters.


• If Colombia beat Costa Rica in their finale, the US would advance with a win against Paraguay. The US could still go through with a draw against Paraguay and a Colombia win, as they'd then be tied on two points with Costa Rica and Paraguay and tiebreakers would determine which team advances.


• If Colombia draw Costa Rica, the US would have to beat Paraguay in order to advance. Anything less and the Americans' run would be over.


• If Costa Rica beat Colombia in the finale, it wouldn't matter what the US does against Paraguay. Los Ticos would finish in second with five points, one more than the US maximum of four.


PARAGUAY BEAT COLOMBIA: Everything's up for grabs. Paraguay would be in first with four points, Colombia would be in second with three, Costa Rica would be in third with two and the US would be in last with one.


•The US's chances of advancing wouldn't be great in this scenario. The US would first have to win against Paraguay, a result that would leave both teams tied with four points, and then hope the goal difference tiebreaker goes their way. A loss or a draw against Paraguay would end things for the US.


•The US's most straightforward path would then involve a win against Paraguay and a win for either Colombia or Costa Rica in their finale. Either country would win the group outright with a victory in the finale, while the loser would miss out on the quarters. The US and Paraguay would tie for second and have their fates determined by the tiebreakers.


•A US win vs. Paraguay and a draw in the finale between Colombia and Costa Rica would leave us with another three-way tie, this time between the US, Colombia and Paraguay, all of whom would have four points. The two teams that would advance would then be determined by the tiebreakers.


COLOMBIA-PARAGUAY DRAW: This would be the best outcome for the US should they draw Costa Rica tonight. Colombia would be in first with four points, Costa Rica and Paraguay would be tied for second with two points and the US would be in last with a sole point.


•The United States would advancement with a win against Paraguay in the finale coupled with a Colombia win/draw against Costa Rica.


•The US could even make it through with a win against Paraguay paired with a Costa Rica win against Colombia. In this scenario, Costa Rica would win the group with five points. The US and Colombia would tie for second with four points each, with the team with the better goal difference moving to the quarters.


The US would have to win against Paraguay to have a shot of moving on. A draw tonight followed by a loss or a draw in the finale would end the Americans' tournament.

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