Copa America: United States’ Loss Of Key Players Gives Argentina Early Advantage

The United States men’s national soccer team survived their brutal matchup against Ecuador, defeating them 2-1. Their valiant effort to win the game didn’t come without consequences. They will enter the next round of the tournament missing two of their key players, Bobby Wood and Jermaine Jones.

Copa America: United States' Loss Of Key Players Gives Argentina Early Advantage
Bobby Wood #7 of the United States battles Frickson Erazo #3 of Ecuador (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)

Bobby Wood is going to miss the semifinal round of the tournament due to his back-to-back yellow cards. Jermaine Jones received a red card and was thrown out of the quarterfinal game. The United States men’s national team’s official Twitter account announced this past Friday that they will file an official protest on the suspensions of both Wood and Jones. On Sunday morning, it was announced that the appeals were dismissed.

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By the way it looks, Jones never had a chance of getting his suspension repealed. There was not an officially clear reason to back up a dismissal of the red card he received. Coach Klinsmann felt very differently about the matter and heavily criticized the referee.

It appears in the video replay that Jones lightly taps an Ecuadorian player’s face with his fist. Even though the move was not what most people would call a “punch,” Jones should have known better than to make that kind of movement near the referee.

Heading into the Copa America tournament, Bobby Wood was one of the most highly touted players on the United States men’s national team. Analysts claimed Wood would be the difference maker and the explosive player the United States so desperately needed.

After a slow start against Colombia, Wood lived up to his expectations and became a key player later in the tournament. Wood scored goals against Costa Rica and Ecuador respectively. The United States was coming into the tournament short on offensive power, and the loss of Wood is going to make it significantly worse. Clint Dempsey can’t win a game all by himself.

Copa America: United States' Loss Of Key Players Gives Argentina Early Advantage
SEATTLE, WA - JUNE 16: Clint Dempsey #8 of the United States reacts after scoring a goal against Ecuador during the 2016 Quarterfinal - Copa America Centenario match at CenturyLink Field on June 16, 2016 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)

What could possibly even hurt the United States more than losing Bobby Wood is the loss of Jermaine Jones. Jones is a longtime member of the United States men’s national team. He should have known better than to get involved in the scuffle that resulted in a red card. Jones scored a goal against Costa Rica this tournament and set up Dempsey’s score against Ecuador. Jones is indispensable to his team, and United States’ coach Jürgen Klinsmann knows that.

Argentina handily defeated Venezuela 4-1. Venezuela put on quite a show, and the game could have very easily tilted in their favor. Argentina was heavily favored going into the contest. They remain the favorite in their matchup against the United States as well. The United States are going to have a big issue putting them away with their recent loss of firepower.

Argentina is currently the team favored to win the entire tournament. Led by arguably the greatest player in the world, Lionel Messi, the United States’ defense is going to have a lot on their hands. However, Messi and company do need to be careful. There is nothing more dangerous than a team that has already been written off as the loser. There were multiple instances where Argentina gave Venezuela a chance to make a comeback. The United States may be able to capitalize on those chances.

The last time the United States and Argentina played was in a 2011 friendly match and the game resulted in a draw. The United States beat Argentina only two times in history and only once in a “competitive match.” Ironically, the United States’ only real victory over Argentinian was in the 1995 Copa America tournament. The United States won that game 3-0. Since history tends to repeat itself, Klinsmann’s squad may be able to squeeze out another victory if all goes well.

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[Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images]