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USMNT Flop in Opening Copa America Match Vs Colombia

Not the best way to start a major tournament on your home soil

Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

The USMNT opened their Copa America campaign with a 2-0 loss to FIFA #3 ranked Colombia in Santa Clara, CA.  Overall, the play of the United States left much to be desired.  They led most of the major statistical categories, including possession 53-47, but all that counts is the scoreline.  Of their 12 shots taken throughout the game, only two were on target.  Both delivered by Dempsey.  In contrast, Colombia was able to get seven of their 13 on target, forcing Brad Guzan to make five saves.

Colombia dictated most of the opening minutes, but the US held their own, keeping the attack very manageable.  In the 8th minute, the US conceded a corner kick.  Much of the opening commentary was focused on the fact that Colombia was at a sever disadvantage in the air and for overall set pieces.  However, Edwin Cardona was able to find Crisitian Zapata for the tournament's opening goal.  Geoff Cameron got caught up with an aerial two-on-two game and lost Zapata.  Zapata came off the "screen" and volleyed home a goal that Guzan had no chance of saving, giving Colombia a 1-0 lead early in the match.

Other than the goal, the first 30 minutes were fairly uneventful.  There was a large amount of back and forth, but neither team was able to muster up much quality in the final third.  The US were able to manage a few free kicks within 30 yards of goal, but three hit the wall directly, squandering scoring chances that were realized in the warmup games against Ecuador and Bolivia.

The US's best chance in the first half came in the 36th minute.  Alejandro Bedoya and Gyasi Zardes carried the ball very well, making space for Dempsey to operate.  Dempsey wasn't picked up about 20 yards out, but he struck the ball wide, just missing the left post.  In replays, one could see the reaction of Arsenal goalkeeper, David Ospina.  The shot caught him on the wrong foot and if it were on net, the ball would have gone in.

Down 1-0, the US ran into the tournament's first pass of controversy.  Colombia's Farid Diaz delivered a ball into the US's penalty area, contested by DeAndre Yedlin.  Yedlin turned his body away from the ball, but the ball came into contact with Yedlin's hand.  Referee Roberto Garcia Orozco determined it was a handball in the penalty area.  Yedlin didn't try to control the ball, but contact was made and it was slightly outside the frame of his body, so Colombia was awarded a penalty.  James Rodriguez stepped up and drilled the PK past Brad Guzan into the lower right corner.  2-0 Colombia

Starting the second half, the US came out flat the first five minutes, but gathered more possession after then.  They earned their first corner of the match in the 59th minute.  Michael Bradley found the head of Dempsey, but the ball was cleared off the line by Colombian defender, Sebastian Perez.

Three minutes later, Dempsey fouled 26 yards from goal.  His right footed shot bent the ball around the four-man wall, was met by a diving Ospina to keep the score line where it was.

The US made their first changes in the 66th minute when Christian Pulisic was brought in for Bobby Wood and Jermaine Jones made way for Darlington Nagbe.

It is possible that Colombia may have suffered a setback of their own as James Rodriguez was fouled by Bradley and injured his shoulder.  After being worked on for a few minutes by the training staff, Rodriguez was subbed of in the 73rd minute.  It's an injury the team will need to monitor closely the rest of the tournament.

After another fantastic through ball from Colombia, Carlos Bacca's strike hit the crossbar in the 77th minute, saving an embarrassment for the US.

Their last substitution was Graham Zusi for Alejandro Bedoya in the 86th minute, but that did little to help the outcome of the game.

Overall, it was a listless performance by the host nation.  There was fairly little offensive generation outside of Dempsey's two shots on goal.  They will need to improve if they hope to advance to the quarterfinals from their tough Group A.

The US will travel halfway across the country to Soldier Field in Chicago to face their likely only CONCACAF opponent of the tournament, Costa Rica, Tuesday night.