In a scrappy affair, Colombia defeated the U.S. 1-0 to claim third place in the Copa America Centenario tonight in Glendale, Arizona, relegating the tournament hosts to fourth place.
With the Americans seemingly intent on fulfilling Jurgen Klinsmann’s directive to play meaner, to step on some toes as Klinsmann says, the Yanks played aggressively from the start in a match that ended up 10v10 when Michael Orozco and Colombia’s Santiago Arias earned late ejections.
Klinsmann handed Tim Howard a start in goal and replaced the left side of his back four while reinstating the three suspended regulars, Jermaine Jones, Alejandro Bedoya, and Bobby Wood, who had all sat out versus Argentina.
Matt Besler stepped in for John Brooks and the Kansas City veteran gave a very good accounting of himself, although Orozco, operating in Fabian Johnson’s stead, did not fare as well.
Orozco ended up collecting that late red card with a moment of ill-discipline after he had earned a free kick in sight of Colombia’s goal. But that wasn’t all, Orozco was just not good versus Colombia, continually caught out of position, the second of Klinsmann’s surprise roster inclusions to let the side down in recent games after Chris Wondolowski’s giveaway and foul set up Lionel Messi’s free kick golazo in the Copa semifinal.
Carlos Bacca scored a gem of a team goal for Colombia in the 32nd minute with Real Madrid star James Rodriguez instrumental. James battled through a shoulder injury that we are told will require surgery and his teammates were no doubt inspired by his decision to play in this Third Place match.
Bravery aside, James brought a level of class to the proceedings that the U.S. simply do not have its disposal. That difference showed as the Americans struggled to convert some good chances and half chances, although Bobby Wood was unfortunate to hit the post after a great effort and Dempsey was denied a Messi moment when his free-kick was brilliantly saved by David Ospina.
Klinsmann waited until the 74th minute to spring Christian Pulisic from the bench to replace Michael Bradley, who had struggled after picking up a first-half knock. Darlington Nagbe followed five minutes later as Alejandro Bedoya limped off and the two subs did well in the limited they were given.
That could serve as a summation of the pairs Copa America Centenario. Used in the Copa opener versus Colombia the pair languished after with Klinsmann turning to more experienced international heads after that first match.
This second loss to Colombia ends The Copa America Centenario as a qualified success for the U.S. MNT. Making the semifinals and winning Group A certainly go down as positives for Jurgen Klinsmann and his team, and a stable starting unit has emerged led by a strong back four.
Bobby Wood continues to develop as a partner for Clint Dempsey, Gyasi Zardes showed growth and veterans Dempsey and Jermaine Jones made it clear that they have plenty left to contribute.
But questions remain with the U.S. badly outmatched by Argentina and to a lesser extent, Colombia in that first game. Captain Michael Bradley continues to be plagued by turnover troubles and Dempsey continues to carry the scoring load, although Wood has begun to step up.
Next up for the U.S. is a pair of September World Cup Qualifiers. First, the Americans travel to St. Vincent and the Grenadines for a September 2nd showdown with St. V&G before hosting Trinidad and Tobago in Jacksonville, Florida, four days later.
Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
USA 0 0 0
COL 1 0 1
COL – Carlos Bacca (Santiago Arias) 31st minute
USA: 12-Tim Howard; 2-DeAndre Yedlin, 20-Geoff Cameron, 5-Matt Besler, 14-Michael Orozco; 4-Michael Bradley (capt.) (10-Darlington Nagbe, 79), 13-Jermaine Jones, 11-Alejandro Bedoya (17-Christian Pulisic, 74); 9-Gyasi Zardes, 8-Clint Dempsey, 7-Bobby Wood
Subs not used: 1-Brad Guzan, 3-Steve Birnbaum, 6-John Brooks, 15-Kyle Beckerman, 16-Perry Kitchen, 18-Chris Wondolowski, 19-Graham Zusi, 21-Edgar Castillo, 22-Ethan Horvath, 23-Fabian Johnson
Head Coach: Jurgen Klinsmann
COL: 1-David Ospina; 18-Frank Fabra, 22-Jeison Murillo, 2-Cristian Zapata, 4-Santiago Arias; 5-Guillermo Celis (15-Stegan Medina, 86), 16-Daniel Torres, 10-James Rodriguez, 8-Edwin Cardona, 11-Juan Cuadrado (21-Marlos Moreno, 74); 7-Carlos Bacca (9-Roger Martinez, 79)
Subs not used: 3-Yerry Mina, 6-Carlos Sanchez, 12-Robinson Zapata, 13-Sebastian Perez, 14-Felipe Aguilar, 17-Dayro Moreno, 19-Farid Diaz, 20-Andres Felipe Roa,23-Cristian Bonilla
Head coach: Jose Pekerman
Stats Summary: USA / COL
Shots: 10 / 10
Shots on Goal: 3 / 3
Saves: 2 / 3
Corner Kicks: 4 / 8
Fouls: 14 / 13
Offside: 1 / 5
COL – Jeison Murillo (caution) 13th minute
USA – Matt Besler (caution) 22
COL – Juan Cuadrado (caution) 73
USA – Michael Orozco (caution) 87
COL – Santiago Arias (caution) 90+5
COL – Santiago Arias (sent off) 90+5
USA – Michael Orozco (sent off) 90+5