After Excitement, Drama, Copa América Moves to Semi-Finals
EAST RUTHERFORD, NEW JERSEY - JUNE 17: Players Colombia celebrate winning the penalty kick after a Quarterfinal match between Colombia and Peru at MetLife Stadium as part of Copa America Centenario US 2016 on June 17, 2016 in East Rutherford, New Jersey, US. Colombia won the 0-0 game by penalty kicksChris Szagola / LatinContent/Getty Images
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What an exciting week it was for soccer fans watching La Copa América as the quarterfinals came to an end. The never-ending edge of the seat entertainment saw red cards, drama, and almost a dozen goals. Now, we are only a week away from the final and we go into semi-finals with a few names that not everyone anticipated would be there.
The first quarterfinal match was between the United States and Ecuador. The match ended 2-1 in favor of the United States but was subject to late drama as two players and one coach were sent off during the game.
Opening up the scoring with a beautiful header was veteran forward, Clint Dempsey followed by goals from teammate Gyasi Zardes and Ecuadorian midfielder Michael Arroyo.
United States midfielder Jermaine Jones and Ecuadorian midfielder Antonio Valencia were both sent off after a wild South American fashion tackle from Antonio Valencia on Jones’ teammate Alejandro Bedoya.
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Antonio Valencia was dismissed after his second yellow, then red, for the challenge on Bedoya and Jermaine Jones received his second yellow, then red, and was also dismissed for his controversial retaliation after the play.
The second quarterfinal was between Colombia and Peru. The game went a full 90 minutes where both teams failed to score during regulation time. The game entered a penalty shoot out and Colombia capitalized on all 4-penalty kicks, where the unfortunate Peruvians missed their final two shots.
The penalty shoot out finished 4-2 after an amazing save from Colombian goalkeeper David Ospina. Breaking the spirits of the Peruvian faithful, Colombia is on its way to the semifinals.
Breaking the spirits of the Peruvian faithful, Colombia is on its way to the semifinals. So is Argentina, who will play the U.S., and Chile who thumped Mexico in their match.
The third quarterfinal match was between Argentina and Venezuela. FC Barcelona star Lionel Messi carried his team to a 4-1 victory over the struggling Venezuelan side with a goal and and two assists. One assist was to teammate Gonzalo Higuain who netted two goals of his own.
Although the Venezuelan team put up a fight, the resilience that Argentina showed has earned them their fourth Copa America semifinal out of the last 5 tournaments. Argentina will play the host country, United States on June 21at the NRG Stadium.
Lastly, the 4th quarterfinal match was the most action packed goal-scoring game we’ve witnessed so far. Defending Copa América champions Chile thumped Mexico 7-0 in what experts say is Mexico's worst competitive loss ever. Chilean midfielder Eduardo Vargas scored 4 goals for his country. He is currently tied for the most goals of the tournament with Argentina's Lionel Messi.
Unhappy with their team’s performance, Mexican fans threw garbage onto the field and left early. Chile will be playing Colombia in the other semifinal match up on June 22at Soldier Field.
The winner of United States vs. Argentina will face the winner of the Chile vs. Colombia match on June 26 in MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, New Jersey.
Darek Michael Wajda is currently an editorial intern with NBC Latino. Darek has also worked at CNBC and MSNBC as well as NECN and Telemundo Boston. He is a student at Northeastern University majoring in international affairs and political science. Darek is of Cuban-Polish ancestry and is bilingual and bicultural.