It was one of the most clinical destructions of any major tournament in recent memory, with Chile dismantling a well-regarded Mexico side 7-0 in the quarterfinals to move one step closer to repeating as Copa America champions. La Rojo simply overwhelmed El Tri as Eduardo Vargas ran rampant with four goals and the irrepressible Alexis Sanchez added two of his own.
That is what Colombia must now contend with to reach its first Copa final since winning it all as host in 2001. Los Cafeteros have shown they can score goals and defend, having reached the last four by ousting Peru in penalty kicks after a scoreless deadlock for 90 minutes.
On the other side, the world’s No. 1 team, Argentina, must overcome home-field disadvantage as It squares off against a U.S. side playing with house money as CONCACAF’s last-team standing and having met coach Jurgen Klinsmann’s goal of reaching the semifinals. The Yanks are without three key players in forward Bobby Wood and midfielders Jermaine Jones and Alejandro Bedoya _ all out through suspension.
Klinsmann does get right back DeAndree Yedlin back from his red card suspension, but he will again be looking to mix and match his personnel against Lionel Messi and company, with the Albiceleste hellbent on ending a major tournament trophy drought that dates to their 1993 Copa title. Argentina has lost three of the last four Copa finals, and the chance to avenge last year’s defeat to Chile on penalties provides more than enough motivation.
In addition to the aforementioned trio unavailable for the U.S., remember that Chile star Arturo Vidal and Argentina midfielder Nicolas Gaitan must also sit after picking up two yellow cards in their previous matches.
These picks cover the semifinal matches for June 21 and 22, using a 4-4-2 formation and salary cap of $90,000 as part of Fan XT’s Daily Fantasy rules for the Copa America tournament.
Goalkeeper: Sergio Romero, Argentina ($7,310). While Argentina’s defense has been suspect at times, Romero has done well to save some of their blushes. A case in point was against Venezuela in the quarterfinals, when he stopped Luis Manuel Seijas’ penalty kick late in the first half to preserve a two-goal lead. The backup stopper at Manchester United may not see much action against the U.S., and he remains the best option among the four shot-stoppers to post a clean sheet.
Gonzalo Jara, Chile ($7,060). Jara has been a pick that primarily creates cap flexibility, and that holds true once more in this instance. While it would seem unlikely Chile will notch another shutout after its quarterfinal demolition of Mexico, its match against Colombia figures to be a tense one-goal affair that could also go to penalties.
Gabriel Mercado, Argentina ($7,280). Much like Jara, Mercado has been a steady pick for cap flexibility purposes. While he and the Albiceleste defense have had their moments of being caught out, the task at hand of stopping in-form striker Clint Dempsey in the semifinals against the U.S. should limit potential distractions for the River Plate man.
Marcos Rojo, Argentina ($8,130). With the United States forced to shuffle its roster with two of its starting midfielders out through suspension, this may be the best time to use Rojo since he should be able to bomb forward on the flank and add another dimension to Argentina’s already-versatile attack. The Manchester United wing back has two assists and is tied for the team lead with five crosses.
DeAndre Yedlin, United States ($7,090). Well-rested after serving his suspension for getting two yellow cards in 90 seconds and a deserved sending off against Paraguay, the Sunderland wing back will have to run his socks off against Argentina. It’s a game that requires Yedlin’s pace to keep ip with the likes of Messi, Lamela, Higuain, etc., etc., but there could be opportunities where he gets forward on the right side to wreak some havoc. The key for Yedlin in this match is to retain his focus and not get frustrated.
Eduardo Vargas, Chile ($7,340). Vargas has gone from potential low-cost, high-value pick to must-have selection in every FanXT DFS lineup in the midfield. Currently on pace to win the Copa America’s Golden Boot _ he has six goals on 13 shots and seven have been on target _ the Hoffenheim 1899 forward is coming off the game of his life for La Rojo after bagging four goals in a 7-0 rout of Mexico. Vargas has 13 goals in his last 14 World Cup qualifiers and tournament matches for Chile _ there is no good reason why he should be left out of any lineup. None.
James Rodriguez, Colombia ($11.380). With the absence of counterpart Vidal, Rodriguez is going to have an easier time creating space and scoring opportunities for himself and others against Chile. The Real Madrid man is the only member of Los Cafeteros with more than one goal (2) and is still the option of choice delivering corner kicks in addition to his team-high 14 crosses.
Erik Lamela, Argentina ($8,500). With Angel Di Maria still struggling to be match fit, and Gaitan unavailable, Lamela is a good play here in the midfield. He has been effective in his limited minutes with two goals, and those limited minutes are a huge bonus ahead of this match considering Argentina enters against the U.S. with two fewer days of rest than the Yanks. Next to Messi, the Spurs midfielder could be the freshest player in attack in the Albiceleste’s starting lineup.
Ever Banega, Argentina ($7,940). Opting for Sanchez over Messi provides enough wiggle room to select Banega, who has quietly had a good tournament with a goal and an assist thus far. Argentina should hold a majority of the possession against the U.S., which will try to hit on the counter, so there will be opportunities for the Sevilla midfielder to pick out teammates and perhaps try his luck on goal.
Alexis Sanchez, Chile ($10,440). Without Vidal, Sanchez is likely going to have to backtrack deeper into the midfield to start Chile’s attack. But given his relentless industry, that won’t be a problem. Additionally, Vargas’ scintillating form means Colombia simply can’t key on the Arsenal forward, who has put 11 of his 17 shots on frame, scored three goals, assisted on two others, pumped in 17 corner kicks and 13 crosses and suffered 12 fouls. Sanchez is a one-man dynamo who needs to be in everyone’s DFS lineup.
Clint Dempsey, United States ($7,280). Dempsey will need to be at his best for the Yanks to have any chance of upsetting Argentina to reach the final, but the Seattle Sounders striker has been just that with goals in his last three matches to power the U.S. into the last four. Dempsey has figured in five of the seven goals, and this match represents a homecoming of sorts for the Texas native. Argentina has looked far from imposing on the back throughout this tournament, and Dempsey can punish just about any mistake he pounces on at the moment.