Argentina not overlooking US soccer team, will field more than Messi and a goalkeeper in Copa semis

HOUSTON — Despite being heavy favorite in the Copa America semifinal against the United States on Tuesday night, Argentina manager Gerardo Martino has chosen to not rest the majority of his roster for the championship and will put more than Lionel Messi and a goalkeeper on the pitch for the match.

USMNT manager Jurgen Klinsmann immediately seized on Argentina’s lineup as evidence of the progress the team has made during his tenure.

“Most American supporters are far too stupid to understand this, of course, but not too long ago, Argentina would have just put Messi in uniform and let him do it all against the U.S.,” said Klinsmann. “Not now, though. They’re going to put Messi out there to beat us, but at least a few other people, too. I’ve made U.S. soccer relevant internationally.”

Martino confirmed the lineup will be Messi, goalkeeper Sergio Romero, midfielder Sergio Aguero and the manager’s 9 year-old nephew Tomas.

“We’ll see how the match progresses, but I would love to get Tomas a goal,” said Martino. “His birthday is on Friday and it would be really neat for him to score, even against a lower-level team like the United States.”

Klinsmann said his side is primed to pull off the upset.

“I’ve challenged the guys to keep little Tomas off the scoresheet,” he said. “We’ll see if they’re up to the task.”