For the first time since 1994, the United States host a major international soccer tournament, and for the first time ever it is the Copa America. For U.S Soccer this is big, but it can be bigger if the USMNT can take home their first title in the tournament 100 years history.
While anticipation was high for the home team, Columbia had a different script for the opening scene of the 100th Copa America, a 2-0 victory over the USMNT.
A 2-0 loss in the opening game is not the end of the world for USMNT but it does kill some momentum for the home team. This loss doesn’t come to a slouch though, Columbia being ranked 3rd in the world, also a quarterfinalist in the 2014 World Cup. The USMNT gave Columbia opportunities to walk away with this game.
The first came from a corner kick, Christian Zapata beating Geoff Cameron to the ball for his first international goal. Cameron suggested that he was picked on the play but video shows that Zapata just wanted it more.
The second goal came from Colombian sensation, James Rodriguez, converting a penalty kick after a controversial hand-ball penalty on DeAndre Yeldin in the 42’.
Aside from the two set pieces by Columbia, head coach of the USMNT, Jurgen Klinsman, was completely satisfied with his team’s performance.
“Overall I was very pleased with the team”, Klinsman said. “We had a totally even game here. Obviously the penalty decision was a major point in this game but it is what it is. He gave it a penalty, he didn’t give any in the second half to Clint [Dempsey] but that’s the referee's decision.”
USMNT had opportunities of their own to try to put a point on the boards but they were missed. Clint Dempsey seemed to be a little off, kicking into Columbia’s wall on two free kick opportunities and missing wide on a couple shots. In the second half, USMNT seen four free kick opportunities between the 59th-64th minute, all of which were failed. It should be noted that Columbia goalie, David Ospina did a great job in the goal, finishing with 2 big saves.
Columbia did have a casualty, losing Rodriguez in the second half after he seemed to have dislocated his shoulder. Columbia’s next game will be Tuesday against Paraguay which should give Rodriguez some time to heal.
The USMNT will look to gain three points against Costa Rica on Tuesday in a must win game. Many are calling for Klinsman to make adjustment to the starting 9 but I doubt that happen. The pressure will be on.