SANTA CLARA -- Friday night’s 2-0 loss to Colombia was definitely not the storybook result the United States Men’s National Soccer Team was hoping for to kick off Copa America Centenario.
In front of a sold-out crowd at Levi’s Stadium, the U.S. conceded two first-half goals and simply could not find the Colombia net. The win gives Colombia three points to start the 45th edition of Copa America while the United States will have to wait until their match against Costa Rica to try and make a dent in the standings.
Colombia jumped out early when Christian Zapata slammed home a corner kick off the foot of Edwin Cardona in the 8th minute. The Colombians executed the play just like they drew it up on the practice pitch with Zapata wide open near the penalty spot where he confidently volleyed the ball past Brad Guzan.
The United States held possession in the first half, but Colombia was more dynamic. Held scoreless, the United States had a trio of opportunities to score –- a couple off of dead balls in the offensive zone and another on a Clint Dempsey shot that he pushed just wide from 25 yards out.
Colombia doubled its advantage three minutes from halftime when DeAndre Yedlin was called for a handball in the box after a United States turnover near their offensive zone. James Rodriguez, the Colombian superstar, stepped up to take the penalty kick and beat Guzan to his left to make it 2-0.
The U.S. knocked on the door 15 minutes into the second half when a Dempsey header had to be cleared off the line by Sebastian Perez on a corner from Michael Bradley. Dempsey provided another quality chance four minutes later when a laser beam of a free kick required a world class save by David Ospina reaching high and to his left.
Colombia almost made it 3-0 when a Carlos Bacca shot rocked the U.S. crossbar in the 77th minute.
The loss to Colombia runs the United States to 3-11-4 all time against Los Cafeteros.
TURNING POINT: It was an unfortunate turn of events in the 42nd second for Yedlin. The defender turned his back to try and avoid a shot only to involuntarily have his hand fling up into the air and touch the ball in the box. Colombia’s backline had a solid game and a two goal cushion was more than enough.
TEENAGER ON THE SCENE: Christian Pulisic, the young man all U.S. fans have been talking about, made his international tournament debut in the 66th minute replacing Bobby Wood. Pulisic is being touted as the next teenage phenomenon. At just 17 years old, Pulisic became the youngest American to score an international goal. Pulisic is making his mark in the German Bundesliga for Borussia Dortmund.
SUPERSTAR WATCH: Rodriguez took a fall in the second half and was looked at by the medical staff before returning. He could be seen favoring his left shoulder and was substituted for in the 72nd minute shortly after that return. In the game, Rodriguez scored his 43rd goal as an international.
SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES REPORT: Chris Wondolowski did not make an appearance against Colombia.
ATTENDANCE: Reported attendance at Levi’s Stadium to kick off Copa America Centenario was 67,439.
UP NEXT: The United States travels to Chicago to take on Costa Rica on June 13. Colombia will take on Paraguay over in the Rose Bowl in Pasadena.