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Copa America: Argentina routs USA, 4-0; advances to final

Argentina completely dominated the USA from start to finish behind an excellent performance from Lionel Messi.

Bob Levey/Getty Images

Argentina and Lionel Messi were just too much to handle for the United States Men's National Team. Argentina routed the U.S. 4-0, advancing to the Copa America final.

The game got off to a nightmare start for the U.S., with Argentina opening the scoring in the 3rd minute.

After a poor Argentine short corner, Kyle Beckerman's failed clearance fell to Lionel Messi at the top of the eighteen. Messi sent a chipped ball to Ezequiel Lavezzi, whose rising header gave Brad Guzan no chance.

Argentina completely dominated position after the opening goal and seemed content to pass the ball around at midfield.

The USMNT struggled to intercept Argentine passes, but didn't allow many dangerous chances.

Just when it looked like the U.S. might be able to get to halftime with only a one goal deficit, La Albiceleste struck again.

Chris Wondolowski had a poor give away and as he was tracking back, he fouled Messi twenty five yards out from goal.

Messi buried an incredible free kick in the upper 90 in the 32nd minute, tightening Argentina's control of the game.

The USMNT went into halftime with zero shots on target and no real chances created.

With the U.S. desperate to create something offensively, Klinsmann brought on Christian Pulisic for Chris Wondolowski to start the second half.

Gyasi Zardes moved up top for Wondo, Pulisic went to the left wing, and Graham Zusi lined up on the right wing.

The second half began terribly for the USMNT, with Gonzalo Higuaín scoring in the 50th minute. Ezequiel Lavezzi played a perfect through ball to Higuaín.

One on one against Higuaín, Brad Guzan was able to make the initial save. However, the rebound fell to Higuaín who sent the ball into the back of the net.

Argentina was forced to use its first substitution in the 59th minute, with Lucas Biglia replacing the injured Augusto Fernández.

Soon after, the U.S. brought on Steve Birnbaum for Kyle Beckerman. Geoff Cameron was shifted to defensive midfield and Birnbaum took Cameron's place in central defense.

Ezequiel Lavezzi suffered a dangerous looking injury as he went flying over the advertising boards while attempting to control a ball coming out of the air. Erik Lamela came on to replace him in the 66th minute.

In the 78th minute, Klinsmann brought on Darlington Nagbe for Clint Dempsey. With the match winding down, Higuaín added Argentina's fourth in the 86th minute.

The result was certainly disappointing for the USMNT, and it will now take on the loser of Chile-Colombia in the third place match on Saturday.

3 Thoughts

The Result was Expected

Argentina is ranked #1 in the world and is led by the best player in the game, Lionel Messi. It destroyed a decent Venezuela side 4-1and won this game without Ángel Di María.

The U.S. was expected to lose and frankly, this result wasn't that bad. The USMNT was clearly outmatched at just about every position and lacked the technical ability of Argentina. Any team that can't get one shot on target is bound to lose.

Reaching the semifinals was a great accomplishment and there is still the third-place game on Saturday.

Questionable Lineup Decisions

Did Jurgen Klinsmann's lineup decisions ultimately doom the U.S? Probably not. However, Klinsmann made several questionable lineup choices. Starting Chris Wondolowski was the most shocking of these decisions.

Wondolowski is an elite MLS finisher, but has proven time and time again that he isn't effective against international opponents outside of CONCACAF.

His atrocious miss against Belgium in the 2014 World Cup is a perfect example of his play for the U.S. Klinsmann acknowledged his mistake by subbing off Wondolowski at halftime.

Starting Kyle Beckerman wasn't a terrible decision, but many were calling for Darlington Nagbe. While Beckerman was poor, he theoretically brings an important defensive element to the lineup.

However with Beckerman starting and Fabian Johnson remaining out of position at left-back, Klinsmann might have been better off parking the bus.

What Next?

The U.S. will play in the third-place match on Saturday, and the team will want to perform well. However, attention will turn to World Cup Qualifiers in September. The next major tournament for the USMNT isn't until the 2017 Gold Cup.

Klinsmann will have a lot of work to do in order to assemble a roster for the next Gold Cup. It will be interesting to see what new players may enter the fold before the Gold Cup.

Will Klinsmann begin to phase out veterans and give more time to Nagbe and Pulisic? We'll have to wait and see. One thing we know for certain is that Klinsmann will be spending significant time developing a roster for the Gold Cup and beyond.