Argentina's Lionel Messi (white/blue jersey) takes on Benny Feilhaber of the USA during a Copa America match on June 28, 2007, in Maracaibo, Venezuela, the last time the sides met in the competition. (Photo: Mexsport)
HOUSTON -- United States head coach Jurgen Klinsmann reminded the media Monday that top-ranked Argentina can be beat.
La Albiceleste is in third place in South American FIFA World Cup qualifying and hasn't won a major international title since the 1993 Copa America.
"It's not that they win every game. They lose games as well," Klinsmann said at the pre-match news conference prior to Tuesday's Copa America Centenario semifinal at NRG Stadium. "And when they lose games, they make mistakes."
While the U.S. hasn't fared well against the Argentineans -- compiling a 2W-2D-6L mark dating back 88 years – it has found some success.
At the 1995 Copa America, the Americans stunned Argentina to capture the Group C crown, recording a 3-0 victory on goals by Frank Klopas (20’), Alexi Lalas (31’) and Eric Wynalda (58’). The U.S. reached the semifinals, where it lost 1-0 to Brazil, before ultimately falling to Colombia in the third place match, 4-1.
Four years later, the CONCACAF power registered a 1-0 win in a friendly in Washington, D.C. on Joe Max-Moore's goal.
The two most recent confrontations were contested at two venues in East Rutherford, New Jersey.
In 2008, goalkeeper Tim Howard was magnificent, making seven saves -- many spectacular -- to preserve a scoreless stalemate at Giants Stadium.
Then, in 2011, 18-year-old Juan Agudelo notched the equalizer in a 1-1 draw at MetLife Stadium, the site of Sunday's Copa final.
Their only other Copa encounter came in 2007, a 4-1 win for Argentina.
The series with Argentina is one of the Americans' oldest rivalries. The sides first met in the 1928 Olympic Games in Amsterdam, with the South Americans recording an 11-2 victory. It was the USA's 10th international match.
The teams met again in the semifinals the first World Cup (1930) in Uruguay. Argentina rolled to a 6-1 win. The Americans used the same lineup for three consecutive matches, a feat that wasn't duplicated until this version of the Copa. Klinsmann, who has been known to tinker with line-ups, used the same starting XI for all three group matches.
With three of his players suspended for the semifinal – midfielders Alejandro Bedoya and Jermain Jones, plus forward Bobby Wood -- the 51-year-old German will be forced to make changes.
"It will be a fascinating game," he commented. "This is a wonderful opportunity for our players to show themselves."
USA v Argentina
1928: Argentina 11, USA 2 (Olympic Games)
1930: Argentina 6, USA 1 (World Cup)
1975: USA 0, Argentina 6 (Friendly – Copa Ciudad de Mexico)
1991: USA 0, Argentina 1 (Friendly)
1995: Argentina 0, USA 3 (Copa America)
1999: USA 1, Argentina 0 (Friendly)
2003: USA 0, Argentina 1 (Friendly)
2007: Argentina 4, USA 1 (Copa America)
2008: USA 0, Argentina 0 (Friendly)
2011: USA 1, Argentina 1 (Friendly)