Sunday, 26 June 2016

USA vs. Colombia: Score, Reaction from 2016 Copa America 3rd-Place Match

The United States men's national team closed Copa AmericaCentenario play with a 1-0 loss to Colombia on Saturday evening at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona.

The loss came four days after Argentina embarrassed the U.S., 4-0, in the semifinals in Houston.

Following a lethargic display against the world's top-ranked team Tuesday, the United States came out more aggressive and attempted to surge into the attacking zone throughout the third-place match's opening stages.

Early pushes didn't yield much in the way of quality scoring chances, but the apparent 180-degree shift in mindset was encouraging, given the team's repeated slip-ups versus Lionel Messi and Co.

The pressure remained consistent throughout the first half, but the U.S. wasn't always fundamentally sound in the defensive third. With John Brooks and Fabian Johnson nursing injuries, head coach JurgenKlinsmann opted for a new back line that featured DeAndre Yedlin, Matt Besler, Michael Orozco and Geoff Cameron. As a result, tactical lapses opened space for Colombia, as's Jeff Carlisle noted:

Ultimately, the observation served as eerie foreshadowing.

James Rodriguez—who started even though he's expected to undergo shoulder surgery after the tournament, per ESPN FC's Tom Marshall—played a brilliant aerial pass to Santiago Arias, who calmly found CarlosBacca for the game's first goal in the 31st minute.

Fox Soccer offered a look at the opening tally:

According to ESPN Stats & Info, Bacca's goal tied him with Rodriguez for the team lead in Copa America play with two.

Klinsmann's side came out with more fire in the second half, and a flurry of chances within the first 20 minutes nearly drew the Stars and Stripes even.

The United States' best look came in the 51st minute, when Clint Dempsey lined up a free kick from well outside the area, but Colombian keeper David Ospina miraculously saved the strike that seemed destined to find the net, as Fox Soccer documented:

As Sports Illustrated's Grant Wahl explained, Ospina had Dempsey's number throughout the tournament after he came up with a big free-kick save in the teams' group-stage meeting:

Bobby Wood, who returned from a suspension that forced him to miss the semifinals, rattled a shot off the far post in the 62nd minute, but that was as close as the U.S. would get.

Colombia did just enough to keep the Americans at bay, and the win pushed Los Cafeteros to 2-0 over their Group A counterparts in theCopa America, with both wins being shutouts.

Now that the dust has settled on its Copa America run, the U.S. can turn its attention back to 2018 World Cup qualifying.

According to the team's official website, the USMNT will be back in action Sept. 2 against St. Vincent and the Grenadines before it clashes with Trinidad and Tobago on Sept. 6.
Postgame Reaction

Although the USMNT failed to exact revenge, at least one American contributor believed the Red, White and Blue looked strong in defeat.

"We didn't get played off the pitch tonight," Cameron said, per the Associated Press' Bob Baum. "If anything, I thought we dominated the game. I thought we had a lot of chances that we just didn't put in."

Tim Howard, who drew his first start of the tournament, concurred.

"I thought we played well," Howard said, per Baum. "We certainly could have won the game. So a positive performance, and certainly the last four or five weeks have been a step in the right direction."

"It was just one of those days," Yedlin added, per Baum. "We got into the box, just nothing was falling for us. So you take the positives from this game and there were certainly a lot of them. I thought for how aggressive we were being offensively we actually defended pretty well. I thought we pressed pretty well and I thought overall it was a good team performance."

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