College Blog Blog Network

Thinking Out Loud: Frozen Fenway a fun take, but novelty has worn off

07.01.16 at 5:43 pm ET
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Rooke_JohnThinking out loud … while wondering why we don’t have birthday cake on the Fourth of July.

— OK, so it’s summertime. I’ve only been to the beach a couple of times, and we’re already talking hockey? But it was cool — and somewhat timely — to get the announcement this week that the Providence Friars would get the chance to skate again at Fenway Park (aka Frozen Fenway) next season against Boston College.

— PC first took part in the outdoor rink phenomenon that launched at Fenway in 2014, in a 1-1 tie with Hockey East rival Merrimack. Next year, there will be two weekends of outdoor doubleheaders at the Fens, with Jan. 7 featuring the Friars and Eagles along with BU facing UMass. The following Saturday (Jan. 14) will have Maine-UConn and UNH-Northeastern games.

— Great exposure for Hockey East perhaps, and maybe fun for hockey krishnas. If you like freezing. Personally, I’m a little past the novelty and nostalgia of staged pond hockey, whether it’s at Fenway or not. Just sayin’.

— A total of four future and current Friars were selected in the recently completed NHL draft. Vincent Desharnais, a 6-foot-6, 210-pound sophomore, was picked in the seventh round by Edmonton, while Friars-to-be Kasper Bjorkqvist (Finland), Brandon Duhaime (Florida) and Jake Ryczek (Ludlow, Mass.) were taken by Pittsburgh (2nd round), Minnesota (4th round) and Chicago (7th round).

— Not for nuthin’, but it’s the first time since 2000 that PC has had as many as four players selected in a single NHL draft — they had five picked back in ’00. Providence should have plenty of talent on the roster this fall, with seven NHL draft picks ready to suit up.

— Congrats to PC grad Ryan Breen, who is joining the scouting staff of the New Jersey Devils. Breen was director of hockey operations for PC, and followed that up with a scouting role for the USHL’s Bloomington Thunder, and a hockey ops/video coordinator position with the Providence Bruins before earning the NHL gig.

— In case you missed it, former Friar Bryce Cotton has been added to the Atlanta Hawks’ roster for the Las Vegas Summer League. Cotton appeared in eight games for Phoenix and Memphis last season, and spent the majority of his year with the D-League’s Austin Toros. The Hawks are looking for shooting, and Cotton is a career 45 percent shooter from 3 in the NBADL.

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Friday’s Morning Mashup: Lakers reportedly join pursuit for Celtics free agent Evan Turner

07.01.16 at 7:50 am ET
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Welcome to Friday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

MLB: Angels at Red Sox, 7:10 p.m. (NESN; WEEI-FM)
MLB: Indians at Blue Jays, 1 p.m. (MLB Network)
MLB: Cubs at Mets, 7 p.m. (MLB Network)
Soccer: European Championship quarterfinals, Wales vs. Belgium, 3 p.m. (ESPN)
Tennis: Wimbledon, 7 a.m. (ESPN)
Track and field: U.S. Olympic trials, 9 p.m. (NBC)
Swimming: U.S. Olympic trials, 6 p.m. (NBCSN), 8 p.m. (NBC)


Evan Turner

Evan Turner

— With NBA free agency officially underway, Evan Turner reportedly has been getting interest from a few teams, including the Lakers. The Celtics, however, remain quiet.

Among the teams said to be interested in the shooting guard are the Knicks, Bulls, Pelicans, Mavericks and Grizzlies (according to The Sporting News’ Sean Deveney).

The Lakers reportedly have agreed on a four-year, $64 million deal with center Timofey Mozgov, who mostly sat on the bench for the Cavaliers during their title run, as they look to climb out of the Western Conference cellar.

The Knicks upgraded their roster with the acquisition of former MVP Derrick Rose in a draft-day trade, and they reportedly are closing in on a four-year deal with Joakim Noah. They have an opening at shooting guard and are said to be interested in a few free agents.

Turner, the No. 2 overall pick in 2010 who struggled to make an impact his first four seasons in the NBA with the 76ers and Pacers before arriving in Boston as a free agent in the summer of 2014, has indicated a desire to return to the C’s after averaging 10.0 points, 5.0 rebounds and 5.0 assists and 27.8 minutes per game over two seasons and reportedly being a positive locker room influence, but it’s not clear if Danny Ainge would spend the money to retain his services.

“I had some of the most fun playing basketball since I’ve played in the NBA,” Turner said recently on Yahoo Sports’ “The Vertical Podcast.” “We’ve had a great locker room. Boston was definitely a first-class organization. Brad Stevens did a lot for my career and my maturity.”

— A Canadian Football League game took a bizarre turn Thursday night courtesy of Montreal Alouettes wide receiver Duron Carter — son of NFL Hall of Famer and former ESPN analyst Cris Carter.

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Read More: Duron Carter, Evan Turner, Johnny Manziel, Rolando McClain

Thursday’s Morning Mashup: Joakim Noah reportedly closes in on agreement to join Knicks

06.30.16 at 8:32 am ET
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Welcome to Thursday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

MLB: Rangers at Yankees, 1 p.m. (MLB Network)
MLB: Cubs at Mets, 7 p.m. (MLB Network)
College baseball: World Series, Coastal Carolina vs. Arizona, 1:08 p.m. (ESPN)
WNBA: Dream at Sparks, 3:30 p.m. (NBA TV)
Soccer: European Championship quarterfinals, Poland vs. Portugal, 2:30 p.m. (ESPN2)
Tennis: Wimbledon, 7 a.m. (ESPN)
Swimming: U.S. Olympic trials, 6:30 p.m. (NBCSN), 8 p.m. (NBC)


Joakim Noah

Joakim Noah

— The Knicks continue to be busy this offseason, reportedly closing in on an agreement with Bulls free agent center Joakim Noah that will pay him $18 million per season.

Noah, a two-time All-Star and former NBA Defensive Player of the Year, would rejoin former Bulls guard Derrick Rose, whom the Knicks acquired in a trade on draft day, and shore up a frontcourt that was depleted when New York sent center Robin Lopez to Chicago.

“Oh, I want him,” Rose said of Noah during his introductory press conference with the Knicks last week. “I think his family knows that. I think everybody knows that.”

The 31-year-old Noah averaged 4.3 points and 8.8 rebounds in 29 games this past season — starting just twice as Bulls coach Fred Holberg moved him to a bench role — before he had season-ending shoulder surgery in January. A native of New York, he is close with Rose and Knicks star Carmelo Anthony.

Free agent deals can’t be signed until July 7, but verbal agreements can be made starting Friday.

The Knicks reportedly also plan to add a shooting guard, with Courtney Lee and Eric Gordon said to be among their targets. Signing Noah likely would take them out of the running for Kevin Durant, but they reportedly are not one of the teams Durant had agreed to meet as he heads to free agency.

The Bulls, meanwhile, are expected to also lose Pau Gasol in free agency as they start to rebuild around All-Star guard Jimmy Butler.

— The Thunder reportedly are attempting to make a play for Hawks free agent center Al Horford, offering other teams players such as Enes Kanter and Kyle Singler to clear cap space.

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Read More: Al Horford, Joakim Noah, Michael Phelps,

Wednesday’s Morning Mashup: Former Colts RB Zurlon Tipton dead at 26 after accidentally shooting himself

06.29.16 at 8:25 am ET
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Welcome to Wednesday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

MLB: Red Sox at Rays, 12:10 p.m. (NESN; WEEI-FM)
MLB: Marlins at Tigers, 1 p.m. (MLB Network)
MLB: Orioles at Padres, 4 p.m. (MLB Network)
MLB: Mets at Nationals, 7:05 p.m. (ESPN2)
College baseball: World Series, Coastal Carolina vs. Arizona, 8 p.m. (ESPN)
WNBA: Liberty at Lynx, 8 p.m. (NBA TV)
WNBA: Sun at Mercury, 10 p.m. (NBA TV)
Swimming: U.S. Olympic trials, 7 p.m. (NBCSN), 8 p.m. (NBC)
Tennis: Wimbledon, 7 a.m. (ESPN)


Zurlon Tipton played two seasons for the Colts. (Mark J. Rebilas/USA Today Sports)

Zurlon Tipton played two seasons for the Colts. (Mark J. Rebilas/USA Today Sports)

— An autopsy is scheduled for Wednesday on former Colts running back Zurlon Tipton, who died Tuesday after accidentally shooting himself while at a car dealership in suburban Detroit.

Tipton, a 26-year-old Detroit native who starred at Central Michigan, had brought his car into the Roseville dealership for service in the morning, general manager Mark DeMara told The Detroit News.

“At some point, he reached into a duffel bag that was on the passenger seat of his vehicle and the pistol that was in there deployed and shot the gentleman in the abdomen,” DeMara said.

Tipton initially was alert and talking as he was taken to the hospital, where he died of his injuries.

Police said there was a second firearm in the bag, but it’s unclear why he had them or who owned them. They ruled the death an accident.

Tipton played two seasons for the Colts after being signed in 2014 as an undrafted free agent. He appeared in 13 regular-season and three playoff games, scoring his first rushing touchdown in the AFC championship game against the Patriots on Jan. 18, 2015. He was waived on Dec. 21. Four days later, he was arrested and charged with criminal recklessness with a deadly weapon after firing a shot from an AR-15 rifle outside his girlfriend’s Indianapolis-area house. According to media reports, Tipton indicated he was attempting to protect his girlfriend from an ex-boyfriend who had threatened her. The prosecutor’s office did not pursue charges.

Colts wide receiver Donte Moncrief paid tribute to Tipton in an Instagram post Tuesday, writing: It’s crazy I just got that phone call bro cause I just talk to you and we talked about the future and teams giving you your second chance. No matter where I’m at or what team I’m on ill have that 37 on my wrist or glove.

— Days after Johnny Manziel’s father called the former Browns quarterback “a druggie” and said he hopes he ends up in jail for his own sake, Manziel posted an image on Instagram of himself overlooking a beach in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.

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Read More: Johnny Manziel, Zurlon Tipton,

Legendary women’s basketball coach Pat Summitt dies at 64

06.28.16 at 10:08 am ET
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Legendary coach Pat Summitt passed away Monday night. (Randy Sartin/USA Today Sports)

Legendary coach Pat Summitt passed away Tuesday. (Randy Sartin/USA Today Sports)

Former University of Tennessee coach and Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame member Pat Summitt passed away Tuesday morning after a lengthy battle with early onset dementia. She was 64.

Her son, Tyler Summitt, released a statement Tuesday revealing his mother died peacefully at Sherrill Hill Senior Living in Knoxville, Tennessee surrounded by loved ones.

“Since 2011, my mother has battled her toughest opponent, early onset dementia, ‘Alzheimer’s Type,’ and she did so with bravely fierce determination just as she did with every opponent she ever faced,” Tyler Summitt said. “Even though it’s incredibly difficult to come to terms that she is no longer with us, we can all find peace in knowing she no longer carries the heavy burden of this disease.”

The winningest coach in Division I history, Summitt tallied 1,098 wins and eight national championships in her 38 seasons as head coach of the Lady Vols. She left the team in 2012 after announcing she had early onset dementia in 2011.

A pioneer for women’s basketball, Summitt became head coach at Tennessee in 1974 when the NCAA didn’t recognize the sport. Her accomplishments and success helped women’s basketball garner national attention and gave the sport a new spotlight.

Even after retiring in 2012, she continued to work with Tennessee student-athletes while working with the Pat Summitt Foundation Fund, with proceeds going to cutting-edge research. She received the Arthur Ashe Courage Award at ESPN’s ESPY Awards in 2012, and was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Obama that same year.

“She’ll be remembered as the all-time winningest D-1 basketball coach in NCAA history, but she was more than a coach to so many,” Tyler Summitt said. “She was a hero and a mentor, especially to me, her family, her friends, her Tennessee Lady Volunteer staff and the 161 Lady Vol student-athletes she coached during her 38-year tenure.”

Read More: Pat Summitt, Tyler Summitt,

Tuesday’s Morning Mashup: Former NFL coach Buddy Ryan, father of Rex Ryan, dies at 82

06.28.16 at 8:33 am ET
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Welcome to Tuesday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

MLB: Red Sox at Rays, 7:10 p.m. (NESN; WEEI-FM)
MLB: Mets at Nationals, 7 p.m. (MLB Network)
College baseball: World Series, Coastal Carolina vs. Arizona, 7 p.m. (ESPN)
WNBA: Wings at Sparks, 10 p.m. (ESPN2)
Tennis: Wimbledon, 7 a.m. (ESPN)


— Former NFL coach Buddy Ryan, the father of Bills coach Rex Ryan, has died at the age of 82, his agent confirmed to the media Tuesday morning.

Buddy Ryan was the architect of the famed “46” defense of the Bears, who routed the Patriots in the 1986 Super Bowl. Ryan was carried off the field by his players after that game.

Also a member of the defensive staff of the Super Bowl-champion Jets in 1968, Ryan went on to become a head coach of the Eagles and Cardinals, posting a 55-55-1 record. He also served as defensive coordinator of the Vikings and Houston Oilers. Known for his brash ways and issues getting along with his fellow coaches, Ryan punched Oilers offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride during a sideline skirmish in 1993.

Rex Ryan was on his father’s staff with the Cardinals for two years in the 1990s. Last fall, despite his declining health, Buddy traveled to Buffalo to watch Rex make his debut as Bills coach. Buddy’s first NFL job was as a Bills assistant in the early 1960s.

Rex’s twin brother, Rob, is a former Patriots assistant who was fired as Saints defensive coordinator late last season and was hired by his brother in January to be an assistant head coach/defense with the Bills.

— As the problems in Rio de Janeiro continue to mount, the state’s acting governor acknowledged that the Olympic Games could be a “big failure” unless a huge investment is made immediately.

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Read More: Rex Ryan, Rio Olympics,

Monday’s Morning Mashup: Kevin Durant reportedly adds Celtics to list of 6 teams he wants to meet

06.27.16 at 6:52 am ET
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Welcome to Monday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

MLB: Red Sox at Rays, 7:10 p.m. (NESN; WEEI-FM)
MLB: Dodgers at Pirates, 12:30 p.m. (MLB Network)
MLB: Mets at Nationals, 7 p.m. (MLB Network)
MLB: Astros at Angels, 10:05 p.m. (ESPN)
Soccer: European Championship, Italy vs. Spain, 11:30 a.m. (ESPN2)
Soccer: European Championship, England vs. Iceland, 2:30 p.m. (ESPN2)
Tennis: Wimbledon, 7 a.m. (ESPN)


Kevin Durant

Kevin Durant

— The Celtics’ dream of landing premier free agent Kevin Durant lives on for at least another few days.

According to Yahoo Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski and confirmed by ESPN, Durant has added the C’s to his list of teams to meet as he officially hits free agency Friday.

Durant already reportedly set meetings with the Warriors, Spurs and his current team, the Thunder. The new group includes the Celtics, Heat and Clippers.

The Knicks, who have made clear their desire to join the hunt, are said to be under Durant’s consideration. The Wizards, Durant’s hometown team, reportedly are not one of the early favorites, with a team source acknowledging to ESPN, “It’s not like LeBron and Cleveland.”

The 27-year-old forward, a nine-year pro, averaged 28.2 points last season as he led Oklahoma City to the Western Conference finals, where the Thunder squandered a 3-1 series lead and fell in seven games to the Warriors.

The former league MVP is scheduled to go on a publicity tour of the Far East on July 9, and he reportedly wants to make his decision before then. The Thunder, who can offer him the most money, are considered the favorites, although he could attempt to maximize his financial prospects by signing a one-year deal and becoming a free agent again next year.

— Pete Rose showed his appreciation to his hometown fans as his No. 14 was officially retired by the Reds on Sunday.

“It solidifies what I’ve been saying for many, many, many years and will continue to say it: Cincinnati is the baseball capital of the world,” Rose said from a stage by second base.

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Read More: Kevin Durant, Pete Rose,

Thinking Out Loud: Celtics draft pick Ben Bentil should have stayed at Providence another year

06.24.16 at 5:50 pm ET
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Rooke_JohnThinking out loud … while wondering whatever happened to Sam Bowie.

— Kris Dunn’s night in the NBA draft spotlight very nearly had a local lean to it, except for Danny Ainge’s crazy idea that Jaylen Brown might actually be a serviceable player right away. More on that in a sec — but for Dunn, it was the culmination of what could best be described as a beautiful struggle.

— If you know Dunn’s story (and if you don’t, Google it), you know this is a fairy tale ending. Or beginning. Minnesota has a piece now that could turn a 29-53 Timberwolves team into a playoff contender. From the PC point of view, Dunn is the first first-rounder selected since Marshon Brooks in 2011 (25th to Boston), and the highest pick (at No. 5 overall) since Marvin Barnes was taken at No. 2 in 1974. He’s also the fourth Friar all-time to be selected in the top five of the draft (Barnes, Jimmy Walker, Ernie DiGregorio), and also the 11th all-time to be taken in the first round.

— The last NBA draft top-10 pick for Providence? Otis Thorpe at No. 9 (by Kansas City, now Sacramento) in 1984. Forty-three Friars have been NBA draft picks, all-time.

— Andrew Wiggins. Karl Anthony Townes. The last two NBA Rookies of the Year reside in T-wolves Land. Good company for Dunn. Ricky Rubio. Zach LaVine. Highlight reel alley-oops are on the revamped dinner menu.

— One other note worth mentioning here — Dunn may be the first person in recorded history to put J.C. Penney and Gucci in the same sentence. Dunn already has a sponsorship deal with J.C. Penney for clothing, as his draft night suit was created by the clothing store giant. His Gucci shoes were glittering to the point he was asked about them by ESPN’s Lisa Salters.

— Tallying the draft score college conference-wise, the Big East had four players drafted in the two rounds (Marquette’s Henry Ellenson No. 18 to Detroit, Seton Hall’s Isaiah Whitehead No. 42 to Utah, then traded to Brooklyn), including PC’s Dunn and Ben Bentil.

— If you’re keeping score at home, the Big Ten, SEC, Big 12 and Pac-12 each had six picks, while the ACC led the way with nine players selected. Only one other league had multiple picks (the WCC, with two) and 12 conferences were represented overall, including the Atlantic-10 (St. Joseph’s DeAndre Bembry, 21st to Atlanta) and the American (UConn’s Daniel Hamilton 56th to Oklahoma City).

— Bentil’s wait until the second round and the 51st pick overall was not a surprise in these eyes. Great that Boston selected him, and he’ll get the chance to compete for a Celtics roster spot. Dunn and Bentil now make it 10 times PC has had multiple NBA draft picks in the same year.

— But anyone who really believes Bentil made the right “basketball” move by leaving Providence early is wrong.

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Read More: Ben Bentil, Kris Dunn,

Wednesday’s Morning Mashup: Warriors reportedly plan aggressive push to sign Kevin Durant

06.22.16 at 7:26 am ET
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Welcome to Wednesday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

MLB: White Sox at Red Sox, 7:10 p.m. (NESN; WEEI-FM)
MLB: Royals at Mets 1 p.m. (MLB Network)
MLB: Brewers at Athletics, 3:35 p.m. (MLB Network)
MLB: Giants at Pirates, 7 p.m. (MLB Network)
College baseball: World Series, UC Santa Barbara vs. Arizona, 8 p.m. (ESPN2)
NHL: Awards show, 7 p.m. (NBCSN)
WNBA: Liberty at Dream, noon (NBA TV)
Soccer: Copa America semifinals, Colombia vs. Chile, 8 p.m. (FS1)
Soccer: European Championship: Hungary vs. Portugal, 11:30 a.m. (ESPN)
Soccer: European Championship: Iceland vs. Austria, 11:30 a.m. (ESPN2)
Soccer: European Championship: Italy vs. Ireland, 2:30 p.m. (ESPN)
Soccer: European Championship: Sweden vs. Belgium, 2:30 p.m. (ESPN2)


Kevin Durant

Kevin Durant

— It’s quickly becoming a very interesting offseason in the NBA, and not just for the Celtics, who reportedly continue to look to make a deal involving the No. 3 pick in Thursday’s draft but are having no luck.

According to an ESPN report, the Warriors — fresh off their loss in Game 7 of the NBA Finals — will aggressively pursue Kevin Durant when free agency begins July 1.

While Boston would seem an unlikely landing spot for the former league MVP, Golden State would be more enticing for obvious reasons. And while the most likely scenario for Durant to maximize his options financially is for him to re-sign with Oklahoma City but become a free agent again in another year or two, Warriors owner Joe Lacob hinted Sunday night, “I will be very aggressive” in free agency.

For his part, Durant played down the financial aspect of his pending decision, saying Monday, “It’s a little bit complicated right now,” and it’s more about basketball than money or fame.

“That’s what it is for me,” he said. “It’s a basketball decision.”

If Durant should sign with the Warriors — and even if he doesn’t — there could be a shakeup for the Warriors, who have eight pending free agents. Forward Harrison Barnes and center Festus Ezeli are the most likely to draw interest, especially from a team like the Celtics that could use a dramatic improvement in its frontcourt.

Meanwhile, Mavericks star Dirk Nowitzki reportedly opted out of his contract and will become an unrestricted free agent July 1. And teammate Chandler Parsons is expected to do the same.

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Read More: Chandler Parsons, Dirk Nowitzki, Joseph Randle, Kevin Durant

U.S. soccer falls to Argentina, Lionel Messi in Copa America semifinals

06.21.16 at 11:30 pm ET
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Lionel Messi scored a beautiful free-kick goal in the 32nd minute. (Kevin Jairaj/USA Today Sports)

Lionel Messi scored a beautiful free-kick goal in the 32nd minute. (Kevin Jairaj/USA Today Sports)

The U.S. men’s soccer team will play in the Copa America Centenario third-place game, as it lost 4-0 against Argentina in a sold-out NRG Stadium in Houston.

Despite the physical play from the U.S. defense, the Argentinian attack, led by Lionel Messi, peppered 10 shots at netminder Brad Guzan. The Americans meanwhile failed to register a shot on goal, and were smothered on all sides of the pitch by the No. 1-ranked team in the FIFA world rankings.

The USMNT’s night started off with an omen for the rest of the game. Three minutes into the contest, Ezequiel Lavezzi produced a give-and-go with Messi near the top of the box after dribbling out a short corner kick. Messi chipped the ball toward the net, where a streaking Lavezzi was able to head it in and put Argentina up 1-0.

Messi would later get a goal of his own in the 32nd minute, and it was one that broke his country’s international goal record. After being fouled on the edge of the penalty area, Messi was placed just outside the box on a free kick. With Messi curling it to the right and around a four-man wall, the ball found the top right corner of the net. It was the 55th international goal for the 28-year-old legend.

After halftime, Gonzalo Higuain darted past John Brooks, collected his own rebounded shot off of Guzan, and called the game at the 50th minute by putting it into the back of the net. For good measure, Messi connected with Higuain in the 86th minute to make it 4-0, where the American defense was nowhere to be found in the waning minutes of the game.

Highlighted by also having two-thirds of possession throughout the entire game, the Argentinian national team proved through complete domination that it is ready to win its first Copa America title since 1993. All was not positive though, as Lavezzi injured himself as he went to head a ball near the side barrier. Tumbling over the barrier, Lavezzi was carried off and as of writing, there is no update of whether he will play in Argentina’s championship match.

While this was anything but a graceful exit for the USMNT, it still left a positive mark on the state of U.S. soccer at Copa America Centenario. The team was the only North American side to make it to the semifinals, and faced arguably the toughest side in the tournament. The Americans were still out-classed by the South American side in every aspect of the game, but still have one more match to prove their worth in the world’s game.

This match also gave Christian Pulisic, a promising 17-year-old, a full second half of play against a world-class international side, which is positive for his already rapid growth and development. He showed some quality midfield play in his limited time, causing some havoc for the Argentine defense, but not enough to warrant any solid chances.

Argentina will face the winner of the Chile-Colombia match, while the Americans will take on the loser of that fixture on Saturday at 8 p.m. in Glendale, Arizona.

Read More: copa america, lionel messi, usa soccer,