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USMNT clinch spot in quarterfinal with huge win over Paraguay

The US officially clinched a spot in the Copa America quarterfinal with a victory against Paraguay.

Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

The United States have officially secured a spot in the quarterfinal of the Copa America Centenario following a critical 1-0 victory over Paraguay in their final group match. A first half Clint Dempsey goal ended up being the winner, while last-ditch defending and a couple of Brad Guzan saves clinched the result for the US.

Dempsey's goal came in the 27th-minute. Gyasi Zardes received a pass from Michael Bradley down the wing and broke through two defenders, getting to the byline and sending in a hard, low cross to the penalty spot, where Dempsey stepped up and slid it home. The goal came after a fairly even 25 minutes without many good chances on goal for either team, so the US gained a good bit of confidence with it, knowing a win or draw would get them through.

Early in the second half, the US's momentum took a serious hit when DeAndre Yedlin was given two yellow cards in under a minute. After going down to ten men, Jurgen Klinsmann subbed on Michael Orozco to replace Yedlin at right-back. They went with a 4-4-1 formation and hunkered down for the rest of the game.

High work rates and tough, compact defense helped the US limp the finish line with six yellow cards and a crucial 1-0 victory. They will face Ecuador, Peru or Brazil in the quarterfinal on Thursday or Friday depending on the result of the Costa Rica-Colombia match and Group B play on Sunday.