“I hope that will be the learning curve for us at this Copa América, that we find a way to get though the group with these very difficult three opponents, but then when you get through the group you want go further. The goal then really is the final four."
Jurgen Klinsmann set the goal ahead of the tournament and the team has responded. Here we are in the Copa América Centenario semifinals and the USMNT is looking across the field at the #1 ranked team in the world, Argentina.
The US will be without starters Jermaine Jones, Alejandro Bedoya, and Bobby Wood due to suspensions. DeAndre Yedlin returns from a red card suspension. Argentina will be missing Nicolás Gaitán due to yellow card accumulation.
How will the US replace three starters tonight, especially two key midfielders? Three of Kyle Beckerman, Darlington Nagbe, Graham Zusi, or Christian Pulisic will likely get the start. Gyasi Zardes will probably move up top to replace Wood.
Lionel Messi presents another set of problems for any team. How will the US decide to handle Messi? Some teams commit a player to mark him consistently, some try zonal marking, some double team him at every opportunity... there really is not a successful blueprint to handling the best player in the world.
It isn’t just Messi though, Argentina has a whole host of dangerous attacking options that can hurt you even if you contain Messi. Gonzalo Higuain is in especially good form and will be a handful for center backs Geoff Cameron and John Brooks.
Clint Dempsey has risen to the occasion in this tournament and will be called upon again to provide the primary scoring threat for the US. Zardes is the wild card and will get opportunities due to the attention paid to Dempsey. A third option stepping up from midfield will be necessary to create chances.
Get ready for a huge match tonight, Fox Sports 1 signs on at 7:00pm with a two hour pregame show.
How to Watch
Match time: 9:00 p.m. ET
Venue: NRG Stadium -- Houston, TX
TV: FS1, UniMas, UDN
Live Stream: Fox Sports GO
Join us in the comments with your thoughts before, during, or after the match. The Dirty South Soccer team will be chiming in as we all watch.