Everyone has placed their money on Argentina to win the Copa America this year. I want to use this moment to call attention to a team that has exceeded all expectations: the United States. They are through to the semi finals of the tournament, and they got there at the expense of high-flying Ecuador. Are you surprised? To me, this is an even bigger surprise than Brazil getting handed an early plane ticket (see what I did there?) USA has made it to the semifinals of the Copa America for the first time, since 1995.
First of all, I would like to congratulate the USMNT for this achievement. No one really gave them a chance. Yet here they are, grinning from ear to ear while the tournament favorites Brazil and Uruguay chill at home. It didn’t come easy for them, though. They had a hard time with Ecuador, and both sides got a man sent off each. Nothing ever comes easy, and that saying was proved right in this match. But they held on, and they won. That is all that matters.
I must add a word of caution, though. Argentina is on the way, and that is the team everyone should be afraid of, especially USA. This is a team that has crushed all opposition before them in spectacular fashion, even without the help of Lionel Messi. Now that he is back, I can only hope that if these two sides meet, the goal margin will not be too embarrassing for the Americans. They played dirty, frantic football in the second half against Ecuador. This might not be enough to save them against Argentina, or Chile (if they make it to the semis).
In the meantime, let us all applaud the efforts of the US national team. They have proved their doubters wrong this time. Being the first team to qualify for the semis is no small feat, as I said earlier. Now let us see if they will make it to the finals. If they don’t, however, no one will blame them. They have done well enough.