Clint Dempsey Ecuador USA
Clint Dempsey celebrates after scoring the opening goal for USA in their Copa America Centenario quarterfinal against Ecuador, June 16, 2016Reuters

For all the criticism fired at Jurgen Klinsmann and his USA players, they are into to the semifinals of the Copa America Centenario. In a sometimes-scrappy, sometimes-exciting, plenty-of-drama-filled game, the USMNT scored two goals and conceded one against Ecuador in Seattle.

Clint Dempsey showed his worth in a USMNT shirt again, scoring one and setting up the other, netted by Gyasi Zardes, with Michael Arroyo's peach, 16 minutes from time, not enough to rescue Ecuador. There were plenty of yellow and red cards shown in the match as well, with Antonio Valencia of Ecuador and Jermaine Jones of the USA sent off early in the second half after an altercation with each other.

The opening goal was scored by Dempsey, who headed home off a cross from Jermaine Jones, after Bobby Wood had made a nice run down the right, before passing the ball back to Jones to cross. There was still plenty to do for Dempsey, though, but the veteran found the direction and power to give USA a lead in the 22nd minute.

USA would score their second and a seemingly seal the match in the 65th minute, with Dempsey at the forefront of the goal again. A cross from the left was headed back towards Dempsey by Zardes, who used all his experience, remained calm, before giving a low cross back to his strike partner for a tap-in.

Thirteen minutes before that goal, though, the two teams went down to ten men each, after Valencia and Jones saw red for getting into an argument, with the latter seeming to make some contact with his hand on the face of Valencia.

It did not matter that much, however, as USA took the lead, even if it got really nervous after Arroyo cut the deficit in half.

From there Enner Valencia had two glorious opportunities in the space of seconds to push this match into a penalty shootout, but both of his headers, when left along from six yards out, went wide, with John Brooks nearly putting the ball into his own net right at the end as well.

However, USA breathed a sigh of relief as the final whistle went, confirming their place in the semifinals, where they will meet the winner of the match between Argentina and Venezuela.

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