U.S. Fall To Colombia, Finish Fourth in Copa America Centenario

IMAGE, MATT KREMKAU FOR EMPIRE OF SOCCER

by Deny Gallagher

The United States has officially finished fourth at the Copa America Centenario after dropping a 1-0 decision to Colombia Saturday in Phoenix.

Carlos Bacca scored the lone goal of the match in the 32nd minute to give the South American side an early lead which they held on to for the remainder of the evening.

In this consolation match, the Americans made a few substitutes but kept a majority of their Starting XI in tact. Tim Howard, Matt Besler, and Michael Orozco g0t the nod in place of Brad Guzan and an injured John Brooks and Fabian Johnson.

The United States attack showed signs of life in the opening minutes against Colombia, as the game was a constanted affair with end-to-end action in the opening 15 minutes.

As the night progressed, the Americans had a good share of the game with the USMNT attack getting forward and looking dangerous in the final third.

That good run of form came crashing down in the 32nd minute when James Rodriguez played a Messi-esque chip over the American backline that found the head of Santiago Arias by the near post. Arias tried to deflect it on goal, but could only find an on-running Carlos Bacca. The AC Milan man got just enough on a soft volley while falling to ground to beat a diving Howard and DeAndre Yedlin just inside the back post. With a little more than a half hour gone, Colombia found themselves in a familiar position up 1-0.

Despite being down a goal, the United States continued to be proactive on offense and showed tremendous effort to find the equalizer. In the 50th minute, the United State nearly found an equalizer on a Clint Dempsey free kick, but the effort was punched out of play by David Ospina to keep the Colombian advantage in tact.

The Americans continued to look threatening on the attack in the minutes that followed, but were unable to capitalize on the opportunity.

The equalizer nearly came courtesy of Bobby Wood around the hour mark. The Hawaiian showed off his strength once again to maintain his position, and got off a shot off inside the area. As became a theme through out the night, the effort came close but missed by just inches off the post.

It should be noted that Tim Howard had an incredible game, and an even better second half. While the U.S. looked threatening in the attack, Howard showed shades of why he was the number one keeper for the Stars and Stripes for so long. The New Jersey native turned back the clock in the 82nd minute to deny Edwin Cardona’s menacing strike from distance to keep it a 1-0.

After an eventful five minutes of stoppage time saw both Michael Orozco and Santiago Arias red carded following a shoving match, the referee blew the final whistle. Despite having multiple opportunities late on, it was Colombia that took the game and third place at the 2016 Copa America Centenario.

As for the Americans, the loss brings an end to their Copa America Centenario journey with a fourth place finish.

Only time will tell how this run will be remembered for the United States Men’s National Team, but the early returns indicate that the tournament was a success for Jurgen Klinsmann and company.