What Lies Ahead for the USMNT at Copa?

After a convincing 4-0 win on Tuesday night at Soldier Field over CONCACAF rivals Costa Rica, the United States Men's National Team now sit poised to advance to the knockout stage of Copa America Centenario. The Americans next take to the pitch Saturday night at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia. What do they need to do to advance? And what lies ahead if they do make it out of their group? We're here to answer just that.

Colombia has already clinched advancement from Group A after their 2-1 win over Paraguay Tuesday. Even after losing the opening game to Colombia, the United States could leap frog the Colombians and win the group.

The United States wins Group A with a win against Paraguay AND a Colombia loss to Costa Rica.

Costa Rica has yet to win at this year's Copa, drawing with Paraguay before their loss to the US, so it could be asking a lot for them to beat the perfect to this point Colombian team. If the Americans can not over take the Colombians, there is still a very good chance they advance from Group A as runner-up.

The United States finishes runner-up in Group A with: 

  1. A win against Paraguay AND a Colombia win or draw against Costa Rica
  2. A draw against Paraguay AND Costa Rica does not beat Colombia by 6 goals or more

After all the excitmenet of the win against Costa Rica there is still a chance the United States sees its Copa America end Saturday night.

The United States is eliminated with:

  1. A loss against Paraguay
  2. A draw against Paraguay AND Costa Rica beats Colombia by 6 goals or more

If by some crazy chance number 2 happens, the team with the greater goal difference between the United States and Costa Rica would advance. If the teams are tied on goal difference, the team with the most goals scored would move on to the quarterfinals.

Let's assume the United States does advance from Group A? What's next for them? 

Wining Group A would send the US to Century Link Field in Seattle. There they would play the runner-up from Group B on Thursday, June 16. If everything goes the way we think it will (dangerous thinking in soccer), the runner-up in Group B will likely be either Peru or Ecuador. In Seattle, this would have to be considered a great match up for the Americans. Looking further down the road, if they were to win that game in Seattle, the US would then head to Houston for the semifinals on June 21 against likely Argentina. 

If the US finishes as runner-up in Group A, they are on their way to East Rutherford for a quarterfinal on June 17 against the winner of Group B. Again, if everything goes "by the book" this would likely see Jurgen Klinsmann's team matched against Brazil. Beating Brazil would then set up the game that tournament organizers couldn't have dreamed for, USA v Mexico in a semifinal at Soldier Field.

It is also important to note, with Colombia advancing from the same group as the United States, the two teams could not meet again until the Final.