Copa Libation–United States v Colombia
Drink: Pints of Newcastle
Craven Cottage was such a great venue. The fans, which appeared to be mostly Colombia supporters, were right on top of the action. Watching the teams walk onto the field, I was struck by how tall Jon Brooks was. He must have been a full head taller than most of his teammates. And there was an Interesting difference to how the teams approached their national anthems. The Colombian players sang theirs with gusto while most of the American players went into gameface mode and just stood there. Social media was abuzz about Mix’s Mustache but I’m going to stay out of that.
Having watched the Scotland/Ireland game live, I already knew the result of this match but wanted to see how the US played. Klinsmann sent the team out in a 4-1-3-2 with Jones again as CB and Diskerud part of line of three with Fabian Johnson and Bedoya while heralded prospect Rubio Rubin led the line with Jozy.
The Sunderland striker opened the scoring after Rubin undercut a Colombian defender, who then handled the ball. It was a soft penalty, and Jozy somehow converted it as he went down the middle and goalkeeper really should have saved it. Jones’ passing out the back was a mixed bag as was Jozy’s hold up play, and Rubin had a chance to score a goal on his debut with 10 minutes left in the half but didn’t’ get good contact. What really concerned me was the disorganization of the midfield and defense. Colombia is a very dynamic side, with lots of quick, varied and dynamic movement, but too many times the US either had 5 or 6 across the back, which set up long range shots or delicate, dangerous passes, or there were not enough defenders to protect Guzan, which allowed the Colombians to use their pace and trickery.
For the Colombians, all eyes were on James Rodriguez, who captained the side on the night. ESPN had him as left mid on their lineup but he seemed to play on the right of a front three, then floated out to the left and then central. He was everywhere and his free kick 20 minutes in was wicked and only narrowly missed. Carlos Bacca, who didn’t feature at the WC because of injury, got the start, and caused the US problems. He should have equalized after 32 minutes but hit the outside of the post. The Colombian rearguard stayed at home and were really physical, taking no prisoners against America’s mix of strength and speed up top.
The half ended with the South Americans on top and they should have had a penalty as Jones got his arm in the way of a Colombian shot just before the break. After the interval the US could not get a handle on the game as Los Cafeteros pressed the Stars and Stripes all over the field. The Stars and Stripes did not deal well with this. However, when they composed themselves and passed their way through, it was something to behold.
Klinsmann went to the bench midway through the second half bringing on Wood and Morales for Rubin and Morales. Rubin could have scored again to start the half but missed the target. Overall pleased with his play, as he showed some strength and skill and a little soccer IQ, just his finishing let him down. Lee Nguyen got a chance with 15 minutes to go, coming on for Mix had very few touches in second half as US success came from wide positions.
Colombia dominated and eventually turned their dominance into a victory. James straight up roamed in the second half causing all sorts of problems. Bacca equalized on the hour mark as James broke into the penalty area, and Teo, who was in the offside position, allowed the Sevilla forward to pick up the ball and dribble pas Guzan. They ended up getting the winner as Cordona’s initial cross was blocked, but he quickly gathered himself and flicked the ball to the far post where it was met by Teo, who shrugged off Juilian Green.
If, as Taylor Twellman mentioned several times, Jurgen wanted a test, well he got one and the result was not pretty. Some bright spots in Garza and Rubin but not much else. The technical ability was lacking and unfortunately Rubin couldn’t hit the target with his efforts. Interested to see who Klinsmann rolls out for the Ireland game and how they perform.
Finally, no fashion notes other than that I wish Colombian had worn their red away shirt and I still don’t like the US jerseys and am anxiously awaiting the next version.