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USA vs Paraguay Copa America 2016, recap: 1-nil victory sends America onward

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Clint Dempsey scored the only goal, but it was John Brooks and Brad Guzan that earned the win.

Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Clint Dempsey gave the United States the one-goal lead in the 27th minute after Gyasi Zardes crossed the ball. The 1-nil win gives the Americans a chance to win the group. Paraguay's Copa America 2016 ends with the loss. Where the first half was an open, flowing match with both sides playing well enough, the second half was nearly a disaster. Brad Guzan's double save and John Brooks clearances by foot and head protected the win.

With a Costa Rica win over Colombia later Saturday night the USA comes to Seattle for the knockout round. Any other result sends them to East Rutherford, New Jersey and a likely date with Brazil

DeAndre Yedlin took two yellows in under a minute. Paraguay applied great pressure, but the Americans held onto the lead despite playing down a man. Yedlin's ejection also lead to Dempsey being replaced by Michael Orozco in the 50th minute. Playing down a man the US would count on their defense.

Their defense was immense. Most notably was John Brooks with his great clearances. He didn't just absorb pressure. The Hertha Berlin defender got better as the pressure intensified. The rare effective shots by Paraguay ended in Brad Guzan's hands, though his showed some strong hockey-keeper skills with a double foot-saves.

In the 66th minute center referee Julio Bascuñán stopped play with a cramp in his calf. After about three minutes play resumed.

referee rubdown

A total of nine yellow cards and thirty-six fouls were recorded. The CR may have been too tired to give more.

Nelson Haedo Valdez did not play. He will return to the Sounders and may even be available in their US Open Cup match versus the Kitsap Pumas on Wednesday the 15th.