USMNT fall to Colombia in Copa America opener

IMAGE, MATT KREMKAU FOR EMPIRE OF SOCCER

by Deny Gallagher

This was not the start Jurgen Klinsmann or the U.S. Men’s National Team were hoping for.

With FIFA dignitaries and the rest of the footballing world watching, Colombia made quick work of the U.S. Friday night in Santa Clara, California, beating the Copa America Centenario hosts 2-0. Cristian Zapata got Colombia on the board early on, and James Rodriguez gave the side some breathing room from the penalty spot just before half time.

In the build up to Friday night, all the talk was about how Colombia was not good at defending set pieces. In the ninth minute, the side proved that they were dangerous from them on the attack. Geoff Cameron lost Cristian Zapata on a run from the back post to right near the penalty spot. The AC Milan man got on the end of the corner and beat Brad Guzan for the first goal of the tournament.

Despite conceding, the early returns for the U.S. were promising. The side was getting forward in attack, held possession for extended passages, and was playing with a sense of urgency right out of the gate. The best chance for the U.S. in the first half came on a Clint Dempsey strike from the top of the area in the 36th minute. The effort came as a result of the Texan beating his man off the dribble, but his shot curved just outside the near post.

The sense of optimism soon vanished when a DeAndre Yedlin handball in the 40th minute forced a penalty. James Rodriguez stepped up to the spot and finished the opportunity to extend the Colombian advantage.

Five minutes later, the Stars and Stripes headed to the dressing room down 2-0 after a lousy opening half.

The second half opened with a continuation of the first. The U.S. had a few opportunities to get forward, but only a Clint Dempsey strike in the 63rd minute seriously threatened the Colombian goal.

In the 77th minute, Carlos Bacca nearly opened his Copa America scoring account. The AC Milan man received the through ball in behind the American back line, and beat Brad Guzan. Bacca’s strike was lifted over Guzan’s right shoulder, but deflected off the cross bar and it remained 2-0.

The Stars and Stripes showed signs of life down the stretch, but were unable to make anything of it.

Instead, U.S. dropped the opening game of the Copa America Centenario to the third ranked team in the world.

It is worth noting, James Rodriguez left the match in the 73rd minute with an apparent shoulder injury. His status going forward is unknown.

Jurgen Klinsmann and company look to get back on track at Solider Field in Chicago on Tuesday when they take on Costa Rica. Kickoff is set for 8 PM and can be seen on FS1 UniMAS, and UDN.

  • Ace Face

    Dear God, when will the Michael Bradley era be over?!

    All he does is turn the ball over and argue with refs.

    A Euro washout. Not international quality.

    Please sit him.