USA overrun by rampant Lionel Messi and Argentina, 4-0

Lionel Messi scores Argentina’s second goal from a free-kick.

Lionel Messi scores Argentina’s second goal from a free-kick. (Bob Levey/Getty Images)

There would be no Cinderella story for the US national team in Houston on Tuesday night, as Lionel Messi spearheaded a clinical 4-0 victory for Argentina at NRG Stadium to book a place in the championship final of the Copa America Centenario.

Messi was imperious, setting up Ezequiel Lavezzi’s clever opener and lashing a gorgeous free kick into the top corner to give the favorites a 2-0 halftime lead.

The result was even more one-sided than the score would suggest, as the US simply failed to launch. The hosts struggled to cope with La Albiceleste’s withering high press, rarely knitting together more than a few passes at a time, and would finish the game without a single shot taken.

Striker Gonzalo Higuain doubled the advantage with two coolly-taken finishes after the break, one of them assisted by Messi, to cap a dominant performance that advances Argentina to their third major tournament final in as many years.

Box Score

  • 3′ – ARG – Ezequiel Lavezzi (Lionel Messi)
    32′ – ARG – Lionel Messi
    50′ – ARG – Gonzalo Higuain
    86′ – ARG – Gonzalo Higuain (Lionel Messi)

Next Up

USA: Third-place match vs. loser of Colombia-Chile semifinal (Saturday, 8 pm ET; FX, Univision, UDN)
ARG: Copa America Centenario Final (Sunday, 8 pm ET; FS1, Univision, UDN) – LAGalayx.com

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