The United States Men's National Team is through to the Copa America Centenario quarterfinals after beating Paraguay, 1-0, in Philadelphia.
Head coach Jurgen Klinsmann confounded his critics by naming the same USMNT starting lineup for the third consecutive game. His decision was rewarded in the 27th minute by Clint Dempsey's 51st international goal.
It was a confident left-footed strike that nutmegged Fabian Balbuena and bulleted past 'keeper Justo Villar.
The 1-0 lead held to halftime, but the game turned three minutes after the break.
Just a minute after being picking up a yellow card, DeAndre Yedlin toppled Miguel Samudio to collect his second caution. USMNT would see out the match with 10 men.
Klinsmann responded quickly to Yedlin's ejection, subbing in defender Michael Orozco for goal scorer Dempsey. It was a move that set the tone for the remainder of the game: USMNT spent a lot of time defending. Paraguay would finish the game having rained 19 shots on goal, and six on target. But the American defense, led by center back John Anthony Brooks, stood (mostly) firm. 'Keeper Brad Guzan - no stranger to pressure on his goal after a torrid season with Aston Villa - was also in impressive form.
The rearguard win has cost Klinsmann his newfound continuity of selection. Yedlin will be suspended for USMNT's quarterfinal, and six other members of Klinsi's preferred starting lineup will carry yellow cards into the next round. Copa America Centenario won't see yellow cards "reset" until the semifinals. For Alejandro Bedoya, Fabian Johnson, John Anthony Brooks, Michael Bradley, Bobby Wood, and Jermaine Jones (and Michael Orozco), a yellow in the quarterfinal will see them sit out the semis - if the United States get that far.
USMNT's progress in the tournament hangs on the outcome of Colombia's game aganst Costa Rica (2-1 to Los Ticos at half-time). The Costa Ricans are out of the tournament, but can do their CONCACAF rivals a favor by beating Los Cafeteros - which would make USA the winner of Group A and send Klinsi's men to Seattle to face the runner-up of Group B (expected to be Peru or Ecuador).
If Colombia (as expected) can get a point or better out of its last group stage game, the USA will head to MetLife Stadium in New Jersey to play the winner of Group B - expected to be Brazil.
Home advantage makes USMNT a bit of a wild card in this tournament, and there won't be any bad teams in the quarterfinals - but one would imagine fans will be more optimistic about a match-up against Peru or Ecuador than Brazil.