Messi, Argentina cruise past USMNT in Copa America semifinal

Messi, Argentina cruise past USMNT in Copa America semifinal

Copa America 2016

Messi, Argentina cruise past USMNT in Copa America semifinal

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Photo by Troy Taormina/ USA TODAY Sports

Photo by Troy Taormina/ USA TODAY Sports

When all was said and done, Lionel Messi and Argentina proved far too much for the U.S. Men’s National Team on Tuesday night.

Led by a goal and two assists from Lionel Messi, Argentina cruised past the USMNT, 4-0, in Tuesday night’s Copa America semifinal. Messi was joined on the scoresheet by Ezequiel Lavezzi and Gonzalo Higuain, the latter of whom contributed a brace.

It took just three minutes for Argentina to open up the USMNT defense, as a chipped ball up and over the backline was headed in by Lavezzi. Following a corner kick, Messi looped a ball up and over the backline. Caught in no man’s land, Brad Guzan was left helpless as Lavezzi chipped a header up and over for the game’s opening goal.

Another moment of magic from Messi came in the 32nd minute. Over a free kick from 30 yards out, Messi picked out the top right corner as the shot went over Guzan and into the side netting for the 2-0 lead.

Higuain added a third just four minutes into the second half, despite a point-blank save from Guzan. A ball over the top saw Higuain beat the offside trap, although Guzan parried away his initial shot. Higuain was left alone for the tap-in for his third goal of the tournament and Argentina’s third of the night.

Finally, Higuain’s fourth came in the 85th minute on yet another Messi assist. Driving own the left side, Messi simply slid a pass to Higuain on the back post, leaving a simple finish for the game’s final goal.

On the other end, the U.S. struggled to muster any sort of attack against the Argentinian backline. Playing without Jermaine Jones, Bobby Wood and Alejandro Bedoya, the USMNT struggled to maintain any sort of flow during limited times on the ball and failed to manage a single shot.

Forwards Chris Wondolowski and Clint Dempsey were left on an island up top in a match where Argentina never looked truly threatened. Argentinian goalkeeper Sergio Romero was never called upon to make a save, as Argentina dominated possession and chances throughout the 90 minutes.

Following the win, Argentina will take on the winner of Colombia and Chile in Sunday’s Copa America finale, while the U.S. will take on the loser in Saturday’s third-place game.

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