In a match expected to be a tight affair, the USA put on a sublime second-half show to completely demolish Paraguay 5-0 in the Round of 16 tie in New Delhi following a hat-trick from Timothy Weah.
The USA were coming into the match off the back of a 2-1 loss to Colombia in their final Group A fixture while Paraguay had been runaway leaders in Group B winning all three of their games to keep a perfect slate.
USA coach John Hackworth started with a 4-3-3 formation with Josh Sargent, Timothy Weah and Ayo Akinola leading the front three.
Paraguay coach Gustavo Morinigo mirrored his opponent’s formation with Leonardo Sanchez, Fernando Cardozo and Alan Rodriguez forming the front three.
Both sides started the match in positive fashion with plenty of wing play as the wingers from both teams troubled the opposing defence.
However, it was the North Americans who went in front in the 19th minute of the match through left-winger Timothy Weah. Ayo Akinola drove in a perfect low cross from the right behind the Paraguay back-four and Weah was on hand to tuck-in his finish at the far post.
Braian Ojeda came close to equalizing soon enough for the South Americans after a mesmeric individual run in the USA box only to blast his effort way high from close range.
The quick feet among the Paraguay attack kept the USA defence marshalled by Chris Durkin on its toes throughout the half as the South Americans attacked in waves.
The USA back-four held firm through in resolute manner as the South Americans were denied a clear shot at goal.
Chris Goslin then nearly doubled the lead for his side right at the stroke of half-time with a powerful free-kick from 40 yards out which rattled the goalpost.
Akinola came close to adding a goal to his assist after Andrew Carleton’s ball across the six-yard box but a goal-line clearance from the Paraguayan defence made sure the scores remained at 1-0 going into the break.
Weah immediately doubled USA’s lead right after the break after he let one fly into the top right corner of the goal from 30 yards out after cutting to his right to deliver a stunning finish.
The South Americans committed more men forward after trailing by two at the start of the second half but it only opened up spaces for the USA to exploit on the break.
Josh Sargent had been kept relatively quiet all night but he had his moment soon in the match in the 63rd minute after he set up Andrew Carleton to slam home a side-footed finish to give the USA a 3-0 lead.
After the third goal, it was never going to be easy for the Latin Americans to come back into the match with John Hackworth-led side's defensive organization proving a tough nut to crack.
In fact, it would be the North Americans who would get another in the 75th minute after a thumping finish from Sargent following a run behind the defence to add to his earlier assist.
Andrew Carleton picked up his second assist of the game after setting up Timothy Weah for his hat-trick just minutes later to completely break Paraguay’s resistance for the night.