Paraguay's Nelson Valdez: The heat worked against both teams in Orlando

Referee Patricio Loustau explains something to Costa Rica forward Bryan Ruiz in Copa America Centenario

ORLANDO – Oppressive heat and humidity worked against Paraguay in Saturday’s 0-0 draw against Costa Rica in Camping World Stadium, according to forward Nelson Valdez.

The Seattle Sounders attacker was careful to say the heat was not an excuse for Paraguay’s not winning, however.

"The heat worked against both teams, so it is not an excuse for us,’’ Valdez said in the mixed zone after the game. “But it was evident in the rhythm of the game. All the fans in the stadium noticed that.’’

Valdez came off the bench for Paraguay in the game, entering in the 73rd minute for Jorge Benitez, and was issued a yellow card six minutes later. Deep in second-half stoppage time, Valdez was the player fouled by Costa Rica’s Kendall Waston that resulted in the Vancouver Whitecaps defender being shown a straight red card.

Asked about the work of Argentine referee Patricio Loustau, Valdez said he "could say [the referee] was bad, but I must also say that it was for both, not only for Paraguay. As for the expulsion, yes there was a coup, but Waston is my friend, and this is soccer.''

Looking ahead in the tournament, Valdez said the other Group A opposition -- Colombia, which defeated the US 2-0 Friday night, is a formidable opponent, and the US proved they will be a difficult opponent as well, despite the loss. He said he is always in contact with his Sounders FC teammate Clint Dempsey, and he looks forward to playing against him in the final group stage game.

“It will be very nice to see him, face to face,’’ Valdez said.