Head coach Jurgen Klinsmann (left) celebrates with his team after the USA defeated Ecuador in a Copa America Centenario quarterfinal on June 16, 2016, Seattle, Washington, USA. (Photo: Mexsport)
SEATTLE, Washington -- At this juncture, it doesn't matter which opponent the United States meets in the Copa America Centenario semifinals. The Americans are just happy they have reached the final four.
"People didn't think we were going to get this far," center-back Geoff Cameron said after the USA’s 2-1 quarterfinal win over Ecuador on Thursday. "We're in the semifinals now. Miracles can happen. It doesn't matter who. We have taken down some teams that people haven't expected to beat and we'll keep going."
The Americans will meet the winner of Saturday's quarterfinal between Argentina and Venezuela, in Houston, Texas, on June 21. It is second time in four Copa America appearances that the five-time CONCACAF Gold Cup champion has reached the semifinals, duplicating its achievement at the 1995 edition in Uruguay, eventually falling 1-0 to Brazil.
"Right now this team, they're more convinced, more confident," noted head coach Jurgen Klinsmann. “Confidence, you only build over a long period of time, playing big teams and you get some results against big teams."
During this tournament, the U.S. has demonstrated increasing levels of grit and tactical attentiveness. Last year, it finished in a disappointing fourth place at the Gold Cup and then lost to Mexico in the CONCACAF Cup, missing out on a spot in the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup.
"It was a great night," U.S. captain Michael Bradley said of the win over Ecuador. "To go deep into a tournament you need to be able to win games in different ways. I think we've done that. We've had nights where we played very well, scored goals. We've had other nights where we've had to defend, to suffer together, to make sure that our mentality carries us through.”
The triumph, however, came at a great cost for the Americans, who will lose three starters for the semifinals through suspension – midfielders Jermaine Jones and Alejandro Bedoya, plus forward Bobby Wood. Right-back DeAndre Yedlin returns after serving a one-game ban.
"Not easy, but I think it's a team that has so much desire to grind it out," finished Klinsmann.