Colombia defeated the United States men's national team, 2-0, at Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, California in the first match of the Copa America Centenario.
Colombia opened in the scoring in the 8th minute. Cristian Zapata broke free from Geoff Cameron on a corner kick and found himself open in the box. The AC Milan defender volleyed Edwin Cardona's service past Brad Guzan and into the back of the net.
Down a goal, the U.S. pushed for an equalizer.
Midfielder Jermaine Jones had a scoring opportunity in Colombia's box off a 24th minute free kick, but sent his headed shot wide.
In the 36th minute, Clint Dempsey found himself in space at the top of the box, but his curling effort missed the net by a few inches.
Colombia was awarded a penalty in the 40th minute when the referee judged that DeAndre Yedlin had illegally handled a cross. James Rodriguez sent Guzan the wrong way to double Los Cafeteros' lead.
The U.S. had another scoring opportunity in the 60th minute off a Michael Bradley corner kick, but Dempsey's header was cleared off the line.
Dempsey, again featuring heavily in the attack, had a free kick saved by a sprawling David Ospina in the 64th minute.
Darlington Nagbe and Christian Pulisic entered the match as substitutes in the 66th minute, replacing Bobby Wood and Jermaine Jones.
Colombia had a chance to put the match away in the 77th minute when Carlos Bacca beat Guzan on the breakaway, but his shot banged off the crossbar.
Graham Zusi entered the match for Alejandro Bedoya in the 86th minute.
Despite continuing to press, the U.S. was unable to pull one back and the match ended 2-0 in favor of Colombia.
Five quick thoughts
- Geoff Cameron could have done better on Zapata's goal. He lost his man and appeared complacent when recovering. That said, it was a perfectly played corner kick by Colombia. They key was the man Michael Bradley was marking, Daniel Torres, did not let him step to the ball, forcing Cameron into no man's land. Cameron was out of position and looked bad, but it was by design.
- Whether or not you agree with the penalty call, it came at an unfortunate time. After giving up the initial goal, the U.S. seemed to be gaining control of the match. They had put together a few decent attacks and were pressing Colombia back. However, all of their work was undone by one Michael Bradley giveaway and the ensuing Colombian counter attack.
- Irony might not be the right word, but it was certainly unexpected to see Colombia thrive and the U.S. flounder on dead ball situations. Going into the match, it was assumed that those roles would be switched.
- Nobody expected the U.S. to beat Colombia, although a win would have started the Copa America off right. What's more frustrating is how they lost. If a team wins from goals scored during the run of play, it seems acceptable; two goals scored off of dead balls seems preventable. As Brad Friedel pointed out on the broadcast, the U.S. was the better team for the majority of the match. Of course with the lead in hand, Colombia was able to let the game come to them.
- Should Nagbe and Pulisic have entered the match earlier? The U.S. clearly needed a boost after a disheartening end to the first half, and Klinsmann's decision to keep both of the speedy attackers on the bench for so long drew criticism from pundits. They'll probably feature more in the next two group stage matches.
The U.S. takes on Costa Rica in its second group play match on Tuesday, June 7th at Soldier Field in Chicago, Illinois. The game is at 8 p.m. Eastern and will be broadcast on FOX Sports 1 and UniMas.