In a very one sided match, the Argentinians, led by Lionel Messi, defeated the USA 4-0 on Tuesday night. Hopes were high heading into the match, and the crowd was audible, but neither would last very long.
Ezequiel Levessi, who would later leave with an injury, put Argentina on the board in just the 3rd minute. An early goal is frustrating enough, but this one could have been easily prevented. Levessi slipped behind defenders who were caught ball watching, and had a wide open header. To make it worse, keeper Brad Guzan was caught between attacking the ball and playing the header, leading to an easy goal.
Playing Argentina, you would expect a lot of fireworks from the best player in the world in Lionel Messi, and he did not disappoint. In the 32nd minute, Messi hit a set piece from 25 yards out and put it where not even a brick wall could save it. The shot knicked the bottom of the cross bar and snuck into the top right corner. A shot that most people couldn't replicate with their hands from 10 feet out.
After a few great performances against Paraguay and Ecuador, the USA was simply outmatched against Argentina and it showed. This men's team struggled to possess the ball for more than 10 seconds, and the Argentinians took advantage and made them pay for it.
With the start of the second half, many of the Americans were hoping they could put the bad first half performance behind them, and somehow make a comeback. Unfortunately, the defense did not step up, and Argentina did not take their foot off the pedal. The combination of those two proved lethal for the US.
Gonzalo Higuain, who had himself a terrific match, put Argentina up 3-0 just 5 minutes into the second half (50'). With the third goal, the match was all but over and the hopes of the USA team and their fans were crushed.
Maybe the one bright spot in this game was when 17-year-old Christian Pulisic came on for Chris Wondolowski to start the second half. Wondolowski starting this game had people scratching their heads, but he would not play more than 45 minutes. The combination of a poor first half performance plus a yellow card (31') was enough to remove him from the match at halftime. Pulisic came on to start the second half, which had many fans excited, but no fireworks would come of the move. Pulisic is very young and his future with this team looks very bright.
When it comes down to it, Argentina is just a better overall team than the U.S. The Argentinians completely dominated this game from beginning to end, and in hindsight, the USA really never stood a chance.
A semifinals appearance was a bit of an overachievement and a pleasant surprise for the red, white and blue, but that doesn't mean people are happy with the loss. Either way, this game was a huge step in the right direction for USA soccer, and the sport has nowhere to go but up.
Although they lost, the US still has another game to play before their Copa America run comes to an end. Losing in the semifinals means they get to play a consolation game for 3rd place. The US will play the loser of the match between Colombia and Chile. That match will take place tonight at 8 o'clock at Soldier Field. Having already lost to Colombia, you have to think Chile is the matchup they want, although both teams are a tough matchup.
By Matt Watts