Clint Dempsey scored in the 27th minute and that was all the U.S. needed as a 10-man U.S. Men's National Team held on to defeat Paraguay, 1-0, and advance to the knockout stages of the 2016 Copa America Centenario.
Knowing a win, and most likely a draw, would secure passage to the knockout rounds, the USMNT came out a bit tentative, which gave Paraguay the lion's share of possession early. The Paraguayans, however, failed to create any really good looks, and as the U.S. settled in the Americans created chances of their own, which culminated in Dempsey's winner in the 27th.
Gyasi Zardes collected the ball out wide on the left and drove toward the end line before cutting a pass back across the middle of the box, where Dempsey was waiting to slot home the game winner.
The goal sent the crowd at Lincoln Financial Field into a frenzy as it appeared the U.S. would cruise into the knockout rounds.
That all changed within a span of a minute early in the second half. Right back DeAndre Yedlin committed a soft foul early in the second half and subsequently received a yellow card for his troubles. Shockingly, just seconds later, Yedlin picked up a second yellow card on a tough challenge and all of a sudden the Yanks found themselves a man down and scrambling in to hold on.
The U.S. did well to keep the Paraguayan attack at bay and when Paraguay broke through, goalkeeper Brad Guzan was there to save the day. In the 81st minute, the Aston Villa shot stopper made huge back-to-back point-blank saves to deny Paraguay an equalizer and save the U.S.
Paraguay continued to push forward, but could not equalize and was eliminated with the result, along with Costa Rica. The U.S. and Colombia go through Group A, with the late game deciding who finishes first and second.
Up next for the Americans will be either Brazil, Peru or Ecuador with Brazil being the most likely quarterfinal opponent. Whoever it is, the Yanks will have to face them without Yedlin who will be suspended for the match.
We leave you with a look at Guzan's wizardry: