After a massive quarterfinal win against Ecuador, the U.S Men’s National Team will face soccer superpower Argentina in the semifinals of the Copa America in Houston tonight. The match will serve as the USA’s biggest test since the 2014 World Cup to gauge their place against the world elites.
The Argentine side, led by world footballer of the year Lionel Messi, is currently first in FIFA’s world rankings. So far in this year’s Copa America, Argentina has looked like USA Olympic Basketball. They’ve steamrolled to a 4 – 0 record with an absurd 14 – 2 goal differential that included a 5 – 0 outburst against Panama.
Juergen Klinsmann joined The Herd today to look ahead to the match tonight. He said it’s an opportunity to prove to the rest of the world that the U.S. has made real progress and can regularly compete against the world’s top teams.
“What a huge opportunity for us. We made it to the final four. We are hungry. We’re playing the number one team in the world right now. And nothing better for our players to show the world because it’s televised worldwide, how good we are. How [much] progress we’ve made over the last couple of years.
I’ve gotten a lot of feedback from Europe over the last couple of days, and they have big admiration of what we’re doing here. So we want to show them again that we can compete with the big ones in the world.”
Tactically, Klinsmann said the U.S. hopes obviously rest with their ability to contain Lionel Messi.
“Messi’s obviously the best player in the world. He’s unbelievable going forward, but he also has weaknesses going backward. Hopefully, we can capitalize on the fact that he doesn’t want to defend that much. Obviously, a player like that, you’ve got to be on him. You’ve got to be in his face. You’ve you got ot make it miserable, and you got to hope it’s not gonna be his day.”
The task of taking down the dangerous Argentina team will be even more difficult for the U.S because breakout star Bobby Wood and Jermaine Jones are suspended for the match due to an accumulation of yellow cards. Winger Deandre Yedlin will return to the U.S. after his own yellow card suspension.
USA v. Argentina kicks off at 9pm tonight.
Juergen Klinsmann also appeared on Speak for Yourself and spoke with Jason Whitlock about how the U.S can try to pull the upset.
— Speak For Yourself (@SFY) June 21, 2016