Saturday's three games are in the books, and here are the main observations from the day that was:
The officials denied us all Miller Time
Miller Bolaños should have been an MLS star. But timing and the team he played for prevented that, and he's bounced back well since leaving Chivas USA, establishing himself as a Ecuador regular and recently moving to Brazilian club Gremio after success at Emelec.
But he should have been the hero on Saturday, when Ecuador faced Brazil at the Rose Bowl:
The cross Bolaños sent in from the endline flummoxed Brazil goalkeeper Alisson, who let it bounce off him and roll in the net. But the officials whistled the play dead, chalking off the goal and denying us all not only a much-needed goal on the day, but a chance for Bolaños to burnish his credentials with a clever, if lucky, play.
Instead, the game ended 0-0, the second such scoreline of the day. Brazil-Ecuador was a pretty good game, but a few goals would have improved matters, and Brazil looks as uninspired as ever.
Where are the goals?
Look, in any tournament, teams tend to play tight and scoring is seldom free-flowing, unless one team is far superior to another. That's just a fact of competitive soccer in general.
But the start of this tournament has been blah, no question. Only three goals in four games so far, and only one goal from the run of play -- Paolo Guerrero's header for Peru in their 1-0 win over Haiti on Saturday.
For all the teeth gnashing over the blown call in the Brazil-Ecuador game, that one was far prettier to watch (in a relative sense), than Costa Rica-Paraguay, a scoreless game that was hard to watch and that FOX was probably pretty bummed to have fallen in their main network's broadcast window on Saturday. Put another way, that was not the game to use to introduce a newbie to the sport.
The hope moving forward is that like most tournaments, the scoring slowly picks up over time, as teams get desperate for results and get used to playing together. Otherwise, this scoring rate is going to be a real drag for the tournament overall.
Peru were the big winners -- literally and figuratively -- on the day, and Guerrero was the biggest winner, as he broke Teofilo Cubillas' scoring record for the Peruvian national team. Cubillas was no pushover, so Guerrero's 27 goals are significant for Peru's soccer history.
And Guerrero was the top scorer in the past two Copa Americas -- seems unlikely he'll make it three in a row, but he's already opened his account for this tournament. Who knows what can happen.
Good news for USMNT
The Costa Rica-Paraguay draw gives the U.S. Men's National Team hope they can still advance from the group. If they win their next two games, against those two opponents, they're moving on. If they get four points, they might move on, depending on the other teams in the group. And the U.S. may have played badly on Friday, but Paraguay and Costa Rica didn't look like any great shakes today. Hope springs eternal.
What do you think? Leave a comment below!