KYLE SCHNITZER - Saturday, November 15, 2014
The United States was defeated in an international friendly, where another late-game collapse caused Columbia to up the Americans, 2-1, in front of a sellout crowd at Craven Cottage in London.
Before this match, the U.S. had never scored in London. However, that changed rather quickly. In the 10th minute, Columbia defender Pablo Armero battled in the air with Rubio Rubin but Armero's hand smacked the ball in the melee.
A penalty kick was rewarded to the United States and Jozy Altidore's shot skidded past a diving Camilo Vargas to give the team the early lead.
The game continued at a fast-pace, with much reliance on the counter attack. The Americans looked comfortable playing in their lower third of the field but were under constant pressure, specifically from the La Liga playmakers James Rodriguez and Carlos Bacca.
Bacca had the best opportunity for Columbia in the first half, but his shot drilled the near post and skidded safely out of play. The Americans did manage to hold on despite the pressure and carry the early lead into half-time.
However, the persistence and pestering from Columbia was rewarded. After their early hiccup, Columbia controlled from the start of the second half.
In the 60th minute, Carlos Bacca's hard work was repaid. Despite Teofilo Gutierrez standing in an offside's position, Bacca continued his run and glided behind a barking U.S. defense, baiting Brad Guzan into coming off his line and eventually finding the wide open net.
While not directly involved in the lead-up, the no call on Gutierrez's positioning was seen by some on the field as controversial since the River Plate forward seemed to hinder Kyle Beckerman from making a true play on the ball.
The United States had one lone opportunity late in the second half. In the 78th minute, New England Revolution standout Lee Nguyen came on for Mix Diskerud. Demarcus Beasley played a soft ball to Nguyen, who back-heal flicked it to Alfredo Morales. A perfect leading pass to Bobby Wood resulted in a weak right-footed attempted saved by Vargas.
In the 87th minute, the U.S. conceded the deciding goal on a Teofilo Gutierrez header. Edwin Cardona drilled a cross into the box that sailed over Fabian Johnson's head. Julian Green's effort to get back was not enough as Gutierrez drilled the header into the back of the net.
The United States only registered three shots, opposed to Columbia's nine. They also lost the possession game, as Columbia held possession for 56 percent of the game.
Their next match is on November 18 against Ireland in Dublin. Kickoff is set for 2:45 PM EST.