USA Looks to Bounce Back Against Colombia
By: Josh Katz
The USMNT, fresh off a disappointing 4–0 defeat to Argentina, needs to pick themselves up for the third place match Saturday night against Colombia in Glendale’s University of Phoenix Stadium. Reigning Ballon D’Or winner Lionel Messi assisted once and scored a world class free kick, as the Americans failed to manage a single shot on Sergio Romero’s goal. Jurgen Klinsmann, manager of the USMNT, knows that a better performance is needed against Los Cafeteros, and luckily for him, reinforcements are returning.
Bobby Wood, Jermaine Jones, and Alejandro Bedoya had been ever-present for the Americans in Copa America, but all three were suspended for the Argentina match; Jones for a red card against Ecuador, and Wood and Bedoya for yellow card accumulation. Jones and Wood have also been two of the USMNT’s better players at the tournament thus far. Wood has scored one goal and has been a lively presence alongside Clint Dempsey as a striking pair, and Jones has also scored a single goal, but has also added an assist and has done much of the dirty work alongside Michael Bradley in the center of the midfield.
Colombia went 2–0 down to Chile after eleven minutes, and that’s all that was needed as La Roja advanced to Sunday night’s final, a rematch of last year’s final, which Chile won on penalty kicks following a goalless draw. Charles Aranguiz and Jose Fuenzalida scored four minutes apart before Colombia’s Carlos Sanchez was sent off in the 57th minute after his second yellow card on the night, effectively sealing Chile’s victory.
The Americans have already faced the Colombians in this tournament, where Colombia defeated the USA 2–0 in Santa Clara, CA. First half goals from Cristian Zapata and James Rodriguez sent Klinsmann back to the drawing board, as he abandoned the 4–3–3 in favor of a more traditional 4–4–2 formation against Costa Rica, which proved to be a brilliant move as the Yanks walked away with a 4–0 victory in that match. The strike force of Bobby Wood and Clint Dempsey each scored in the resounding victory. A 1–0 victory over Paraguay, followed by a 2–1 win against Ecuador, proved Klinsmann’s changes worked.
Colombia has stuck to the 4–2–3–1 for much of the tournament, with the dangerous attacking trio of Rodriguez, Edwin Cardona, and Juan Cuadrado lining up behind either Carlos Bacca or Roger Martinez. That combination has proved lethal, as Rodriguez has scored twice and assisted once, and Cardona has set up a pair of goals. Cuadrado has also set up a single goal thus far in the tournament.