Klinsmann: Colombia, U.S. were “absolutely even”

USMNT Klinsmann

by DAVE MARTINEZ

Jurgen Klinsmann said that the U.S. Men’s National Team match against Colombia would serve as a “benchmark” for the team.

Even after bitter defeat, that benchmark was met — at least, according to Klinsmann, who spun the USMNT’s performance in a positive light.

Despite the 2-0 loss to Colombia, the USMNT boss insists both sides were “absolutely even” on the night, meeting his expectations for the team.

“[The media] put the bench mark on the results, but playing [Colombia], who they are and the quality they have, we were absolutely even,” Klinsmann said. “It was a totally even game here.”

The idea of assigning a “benchmark” status for this match came from Klinsmann himself. The U.S. coach told members of the media this week that “[Playing Colombia] is a nice challenge, and for us it’s a way to benchmark ourselves, [show] how good we are, and give them a real, real tough game.”

The U.S. enjoyed moments of possession and dictated more of the tempo in the first half — despite being down a goal from the ninth minute forward.  Dempsey managed a threatening dead ball that forced David Ospina to a diving save. Bobby Wood had a header cleared from the line. Dempsey nearly froze Ospina again on a dead ball, this time narrowly missing the post.

Aside from those moments, however, it was Colombia that looked the more dangerous side on the evening, whether on or off the ball. Colombia created more chances on the counter, kept the U.S. in a tentative position and won the mental battle on the evening.

But apparently, that wasn’t the case for Klinsmann. According to the U.S. boss, the true turning point of the night came at the end of a hand-ball call on Yedlin that led to James Rodriguez’s PK.

“Obviously the penalty decision was a major point in this game but it is what it is,” Klinsmann said. “You can’t change it any more. He gave him a penalty. He didn’t give any in the second half to Clint but that’s the referees decision.”