Copa America is back in Chicago with a dynamite semifinal match between Chile and Colombia.
It should be a great game almost anyone would want to see. I say almost anyone because I could understand why Mexico National Team fans may want to sit it out. And Chicago has a ton of Mexican fans. Many Mexican fans had scooped up semifinal tickets in anticipation of their team making the semifinal. Unfortunately, they were thrashed 7-0 by Chile in the semifinal.
The silver lining? REALLY CHEAP TICKETS!
Just check out StubHub for tickets starting as low as $40. I paid a good amount more for the group stage game between U.S. and Costa Rica. This match should be significantly better. You just have to be willing to stand in rain and wind.
Needless to say, this is another big day for soccer in Chicago and the game deserves a preview!
How They Got Here
It's been a much more assertive road to the semifinal for defending Copa America champions Chile. Chile took second in their group as expected behind powerhouse Argentina. After losing that opening game to Argentina, Chile handled both Panama and Bolivia to advance to the quarterfinal against Mexico.
That quarterfinal match has already gone down in the record books as El Tri suffered it's worst defeat in more than 60 years at the hands of the Chileans. Chile launched an all out assault in the 7-0 victory with Eduardo Vargas scoring an other worldly four goals in the contest. Outside of Argentina, Chile has looked comfortable if not dominant during the tournament.
Colombia's road to the semifinal has been a bit more bumpy. Expected to win their group, Colombia seemed on track with a 2-0 victory over the United States. But a shocking 3-2 loss in the final group stage game to Costa Rica sent Colombia to second place in the group, setting up a match with Peru.
The quarterfinal match proved no easy task for Colombia as the game went to penalties where Colombia eventually prospered 4-2.
The usually potent Colombian attack has been a bit dormant this tournament with superstar James Rodriguez leading the team with two goals and the dangerous Carlos Bacca only registering one. The lack of attack has placed increased scrutiny on the decision to leave out the likes of Radamel Falcao and Jackson Martinez from the squad.
What To Expect (Or Really, Just What I Want)
Expect Chile to win. Why? Because I want Chile to win. First of all, it would set up great revenge matches in both the final and third-place game. Argentina would have a chance to avenge the 2015 Copa America final loss to Chile and the U.S. could get another crack at Colombia and have a chance to wash out the bad taste fans were left with after the Argentina game.
In reality, this is going to be a difficult game for both teams. Chile will be without Arturo Vidal, which is kind of like a Ferrari having its engine replaced with one from a Toyota. It's going to make a huge difference. Luckily for Chile, they still have the previously mentioned red-hot Vargas as well as the world-class Alexis Sanchez to carry the load on attack.
Colombia is no joke though with Rodriguez and Bacca leading the way. If Juan Cuadrado can take his game to the level he is capable of, Chile could be in some trouble. Both defenses have been relatively even, with Colombia conceding four (aside from penalties) and Chile five.
If Chile wants to win, they will need to be patient and a little more conservative than they were in the game against Mexico. I think they can still pull off the win even without Vidal, taking a 2-1 decision courtesy of goals from Vargas and Sanchez. Cuadrado gets on the board for Colombia.
Anyone going to the game? Any predictions?