111414_isi_altidorejozy_usmntbq111414117 Ben Queenborough/isiphotos.com
Match Report

Colombia Dances Around U.S. to Secure 2-1 Victory

Jozy Altidore put the United States ahead with a penalty in the 10th minute, but Colombia dominated possession throughout the friendly and came back to defeat the U.S. by a 2-1 score.
BY John Godfrey Posted
November 14, 2014
4:51 PM
JURGEN KLINSMANN UNVEILED a compelling Starting XI for the United States national team's penultimate match of 2014. Jermaine Jones started in central defense. A mustachioed Mix Diskerud played the No. 10 role. Greg Garza and Fabian Johnson partnered on the left flank. And 18-year-old Rubio Rubin received his first start, at forward.

While the atypical lineup gave American soccer fans plenty to chew on, Colombia gave the Yanks more than they could handle, defeating the U.S. in front of a raucous crowd at Craven Cottage.

The U.S. jumped ahead in the ninth minute when Jozy Altidore converted on a penalty kick following a handball n the penalty area. The call could have gone either way but Klinsmann's men didn't mind the good fortune. Altidore approached his PK deliberately and delivered a shot that Colombia goalkeeper Camilo Vargas probably should have saved. But the ball flew into the back of the net and the Americans scored for the first time in London.

In the 21st minute Colombian World Cup hero James Rodriguez nearly evened the score from a free kick 25 yards from goal. His left-footed blast slipped past a three-man U.S. wall and skidded just wide of Brad Guzan's goal.

It was around this time that Colombia began to take control of the match, earning the bulk of possession and demonstrating strong, disruptive midfield play.

Fabian Johnson, playing in midfield rather than fullback, turned over the ball in the 33rd minute and his mistake nearly led to a Colombia goal. A streaking Carlos Bacca took advantage of Johnson's gaffe but his right-footed shot hit the outside of the crossbar, giving the U.S. a reprieve.

Four minutes later the U.S. countered with one of its best sequences of the half. Kyle Beckerman floated a beautiful left-footed cross to Rubin, who had gotten behind his marker on the edge of the six-yard box. Rubin nodded the ball wide, wasting a glorious chance to put the Americans up by two.

The calls seemed to favor the Americans during the first interval. Jermaine Jones should have been whistled for a penalty just before the end of the first half, as his outstretched left arm blocked a Colombian shot on goal. Somehow referee Szymon Marciniak missed the play, or perhaps he decided not to call it, and the U.S. went into the break fortunate to have a one-goal advantage.

The U.S. came very close to doubling its lead in the opening moments of the second half. After DeAndre Yedlin dribbled through traffic on the right side, he passed to Alejandro Bedoya alone on the left flank. Bedoya then created space for himself and found Rubin in the box with a lovely cross. Rubin, again, headed the ball wide.

While both teams had their chances, Colombia looked more dangerous throughout the match, and it leveled the score on an odd play right before the one-hour mark. Rodriguez initiated the play by dribbling through the heart of the U.S. defense and then tapping the ball forward to a teammate. Guzan rushed out to intercept but a streaking Bacca attacked the ball from the left flank, pushed it forward, and then slotted the ball into an open net.

Replays later revealed that Colombia player was offside and may have impacted the result but the visiting side clearly deserved the equalizer. The South Americans demonstrated consistent technical superiority and seemed more likely to score a second goal.

That said, the U.S. nearly went ahead in the 81st minute as four substitutes collaborated on a sequence that nearly led to a goal against the run of play. DaMarcus Beasley pushed the ball forward to Lee Ngyuen, who made a nifty backheel pass to Alfredo Morales, who released Bobby Wood in on goal. Wood tried to tap the ball past an onrushing Vargas, but the Colombia goalkeeper stopped the shot.

Six minutes later Colombia put the match away when Edwin Cardona lifted a cross to Teófilo Gutiérrez, who rose above Julian Green to head the ball past Guzan and give his team a deserved victory.

ASN will have much more analysis on the match, but we want to hear your take. Pleased with the U.S. showing? Disappointed? Tell us below.

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