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USNMT Defeat Ecuador 2-1 Behind Clint Dempsey

The USMNT has advanced to the semi-finals of the Copa America thanks to Clint Dempsey, their grit and their determination.

Before tonight’s Copa America Centenario match between the USA and Ecuador, Devin Skrade wrote a uproarious article for Medium explaining the United States’ chances.

“So what does this mean for the United States?” he asked. “Most likely an early exit so they, too, can prepare for the 2016 Olympics in Brazi —

“Oh, right. They didn’t qualify.”

While the later point is unvarnished, albeit a minor one, it’s the question he poses that is so paramount: what does this mean for the United States?

The answer?

It means that United States soccer is back.

I’m a casual follower of American fútbol, big enough of a fan to know the names of the salient players, but apathetic enough to not concern myself with every match.

However, I’ve watched enough US soccer over my lifetime to grasp that this squad wins games not because they’ve got the X’s and O’s down better than their opponents, but because they work harder and play more disciplined.

Jürgen Klinsmann, manager of the US club, has always faced tough criticisms for his enigmatic national team decisions. He’s been disparaged for everything from strategies to player selections.

On their best days, the one thing his squads haven’t been denounced for is their grit and determination. That’s always been the attribute the US has been celebrated for.

Thanks to the strong play of Bobby Wood and goals by Clint Dempsey (22′) and Gyasi Zardes (65′), the United States advanced to the semi-finals for the first time since 1995 to silence critics and convey a sense of national pride.

The squad will have a colossal meeting with the winner of the Venezuela/Argentina match awaiting them.

NEXT: (Not So) Serious NYCFC Fall In U.S. Open Cup Play To Cosmos

Justin Weiss is a staff editor at Elite Sports New York, where he covers the New York Islanders and Brooklyn Cyclones. In 2016, he received a Quill Award for Freelance Journalism. He has written for the Long Island Herald, FanSided and YardBarker.