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The Daily Dirt, June 16: USMNT readies and Open Cup drama

United States v Paraguay: Group C - Copa America Centenario Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

Tonight’s game for the USMNT feels a lot like 2014 ahead of the Round of 16 match at the World Cup with Belgium. It is much better to be coming into this knockout match after a win rather than a loss, but it still feels very similar.

While the Copa America Centenario group was not seen with as high of a level of difficulty as the World Cup group, there is still a strong sense of “accomplishment” for getting out of the group stage. I yearn for the time that merely surviving the group stage and even backing into winning a group (thank you again Costa Rica) is not seen with such a feeling of fulfillment.

Much like 2014, a potential knockout round match with Argentina awaits if the US can take care of business tonight. Can you imagine the excitement around a Copa America Centenario semifinal match between the US and Lionel Messi and Argentina? In the US soccer sphere, we always look for those moments that could catapult soccer to a higher level in this country. Facing off with Argentina, in a tournament semifinal, on home soil is one of those moments.

Saturday was fun, tonight has to be about business.

America’s Sweetheart

What to watch for in tonight’s USA vs. Ecuador Copa America Centenario quarterfinal in Seattle (Stars and Stripes FC)

A preview of the tactics in the match from Matt Doyle (MLS Armchair Analyst)

Fox going all out for USA-Ecuador, 90 minute pregame and Landon Donovan on the broadcast (Fox Sports)

Philadelphia beat Harrisburg in a wild Lamar Hunt US Open Cup Fourth Round match, Roland Alberg won it with a stoppage time free kick (Brotherly Game)

Kansas City needed extra time to fend off Minnesota United (The Blue Testament)

Danny Szetela’s 88th minute goal leads the New York Cosmos past New York City FC for the second year in a row in the Open Cup (SBI Soccer)

The only other MLS club to be knocked out of the tournament by lower division opposition was DC United, who lost in penalties to Ft. Lauderdale Strikers. (Black & Red United)

While the Carolina Railhawks did not upset New England last night, they have found stability as a club and look to a key part of the NASL moving forward (News & Observer)

Radio Free Europe

Slovakia defeats Russia 2-1 after a brilliant performance by Marek Hamšík (SB Nation)

A breakdown of what to expect in England vs. Wales this morning, kickoff at 9am on ESPN (BBC)

Poland will be missing starting goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny in today’s clash with Germany, kickoff at 3pm on ESPN (Yahoo)

Midnight Train to Georgia

All the hugs for Freddie Freeman, he hits for the cycle and the Braves win 9-8 in 13 innings (Talking Chop)

News and notes from Day 2 of the Atlanta Falcons minicamp (The Falcoholic)

Georgia adds a commitment from a 4 Star offensive lineman (Dawg Sports)