Argentina only needed three minutes to take the lead and never looked back as they crushed the U.S. Men's National Team 4-0 in the first 2016 Copa America Centenario semifinal.
The Argentinians, ranked number one in the world, proved they were the better team from the outset, and it was superstar Lionel Messi who helped get the scoring started in Houston. the Barcelona star chipped a perfect cross into the box, and Ezequiel Lavezzi was there to put the opener home just minutes after the opening kickoff. The goal was aided by a poor clearance by Fabian Johnson off a short corner and Brad Guzan's moment of indecision.
While not generating much going forward, the Americans managed to keep the deficit at one for an extended period of time and appeared as though they could hold out to halftime. However, 13 minutes from the intermission, Messi got on the score sheet with an absolute beauty of a goal. Standing 25 yards out, Messi hit a curling free kick that crept into the upperest of upper 90s, leaving Guzan absolutely helpless.
Five minutes after the restart, Gonzalo Higuain got in on the scoring. The Napoli man latched onto a cross, failed to finish from close range the first time, but made no mistake on the rebound to give the Argentinians a commanding 3-0 lead.
Things got worse for the Americans in the 86th minute. A turnover deep in U.S. territory gave the ball to Messi on a two-on-one break. Messi could have easily taken a shot, but instead laid a pass of to Higuain, who smashed home into an empty goal.
While the loss is undoubtedly tough to take, the Americans were without three starters in Alejandro Bedoya, Bobby Wood, and Jermaine Jones due to yellow card accumulation and Jones' red card against Ecuador. Kyle Beckerman, Graham Zusi and Chris Wondolowski got the starts in their place, shifting from a 4-3-3 to a 4-4-2, but the offensive firepower the three benched players typically bring was clearly missed.
While Argentina rolls into the final, the U.S. is not done either. The team will face either Colombia or Chile in a third-place match-up on Saturday and all three suspended players will be back