USA down Ecuador to reach Copa semis

Clint Dempsey rolled back the years with a goal and an assist as the USA beat Ecuador 2-1 on Thursday to reach the semi-finals of the Copa America Centenario.

Dempsey, whose place in the side had been in question following a lacklustre season for Seattle, was the star, scoring one and setting up the other for Gyasi Zardes as Jurgen Klinsmann’s side set up a potential semi-final with Argentina.

Dempsey opened the scoring in the 22nd minute, climbing high to send a header into the top corner from a Jermaine Jones cross.

He then turned provider in the 66th minute pouncing on a header in the penalty area before shooting across goal to the far post where Zardes tapped in from almost on the line.

Ecuador pulled one back in the 74th minute when Michael Arroyo shot low into the corner after a free kick had been pulled back across the area.

The South Americans then piled the pressure on in the final minutes looking for a leveller, but the US defence held firm to close out the game.

The US now await the winner of Sunday’s Argentina-Venezuela clash knowing they will be without suspended trio Alejandro Bedoya, Bobby Wood and Jermaine Jones.

Bedoya and Wood picked up yellow cards, while Jones received a red card in the 51st minute after making contact with Arroyo’s face during a melee that also saw Antonio Valencia sent off after he kicked out at Bedoya.