USA must deal with loss of three key players for Copa America semifinal

SEATTLE – Once the euphoria of their dramatic 2-1 Copa America Centenario quarterfinal victory over Ecuador at CenturyLink Field on Thursday wears off, the US national team will have to contend with the looming reality of replacing some key contributors.

The US will be without midfielder Jermaine Jones, who was sent off after the referee determined his hand made contact with the face of an Ecuador player during a 52nd-minute altercation.

The act earned Jones an ejection, only offset by the fact that Ecuador’s Antonio Valencia was also sent off during the sequence for a tackle on US midfielder Alejandro Bedoya, turning the game into a 10-on-10 affair for the duration of the contest.

Asked his thoughts on Jones’s red card at his postgame press conference, US head coach Jurgen Klinsmann didn't hold back.

“An absolute joke,” Klinsmann said. “I was right there. The fourth [officlal] made that decision. Not the referee. The referee didn’t see it. He followed the advice of the fourth official out there. It’s a disgrace, a decision like that.”

Jones isn’t the only USMNT regular that will have to sit for the semifinal. Bobby Wood and Bedoya each picked up yellow cards on Thursday, meaning they’ll have to sit out the game due to accumulation.

“Obviously we’re going to miss Bedoya and we’re going to miss Bobby in the semifinals,” Klinsmann said. “So it’s not easy. But I think this is a team that has so much desire to grind it out.”

On the other hand, Klinsmann can look forward to the return of DeAndre Yedlin for Tuesday's match, after he served a one-game suspension on Thursday for a red card he picked up in the team’s group stage mach against Paraguay.

But the task of replacing the trio of Jones, Wood and Bedoya doesn’t figure to an easy one for the US, which will play the winner of Saturday’s quarterfinal between Argentina and Venezuela (7 pm ET, FX, Univision, UDN).

“We’ll give everything we have with all the respect for the upcoming opponent,” Klinsmann said of his team’s impending semifinal fixture. “The same as we talked about Colombia, Ecuador and Paraguay – they’re all wonderful teams. We’ve come so far and now we’re even hungrier for the next step.”