One final time, YA writers' panel take their best shot at predicting the outcome of Saturday's consolation prize third-place game against Colombia.
Most of us (aside from one unnamed optimistic fool) expected it to be bad....but not that bad. Alas, we were all wrong to varying degrees and now we see the team back where it all began with a rematch against Colombia.
The stakes...aren't high. The players...probably aren't very pumped up. The emotions...well, those mostly ran out a few days ago.
Nevertheless, the Colombians have some good players, the Americans did find their feet before the Argentina debacle, and we still could be in for a good show.
What do YA's writers think about it? Read on to find out!
I think Colombia beats the US on Saturday night in Arizona, despite the Americans having their full lineup back and available to play. It's been a good tournament for the US, in spite of what happened against Argentina, though that match and Klinsmann's game plan leaves a sour taste.
Prediction: USA 1 - 2 Colombia
Ouch. The US was just completely outclassed by a superior Argentina side in Houston this week. While a third place trophy is a mere consolation, maybe the Yanks will reclaim their sense of soccer dignity with a win over Columbia.
While on the bright side the US will be back to full strength, Klinsmann should still take this opportunity to provide newcomers like Pulisic, Nagbe, and Kitchen with some burn. Even so, the Yanks will be gunning for a third-place win over a Colombian side that handled the US in its first Copa match, 2-0. Maybe this time around will be different?
Prediction: USA 2 - 2 Colombia, US wins in penalties
It's not easy to get inspired for a game that means nothing. However, the US do have a chance to leave the tournament on a positive note. This might be a good chance for guys like Pulisic and Nagbe to get more playing time as the US tries to avenge their loss in the group stage to Colombia.
I doubt Colombia will be up for this game as most of their players may already be thinking about their holidays before heading back to their respective club teams.
This could be a wide open game with a few goals as both sides have nothing to play for in the end.
Prediction: USA 3 - 2 Colombia
It's difficult to prognosticate a third-place match, simply because you can't tell if the players for either team will be in the mood for it. Based off Michael Bradley's post-game comments after the Argentina loss, the Yanks' motivation could be seriously in doubt.
That being said, these types of matches tend to be entertaining, simply because neither team plays to not make a mistake. Therefore, I foresee a lot of goals in this one.
Prediction: USA 3 - 4 Colombia
I keep hearing that there was an important game on Tuesday night...I must have missed it since I have absolutely no recollection.
The inevitable lineup shifts we will see for both teams as well as questionable motivation by the players to put it all out there (therefore risking possible injury with club preseasons looming) do add an air of uncertainty to the game. Still, the return of Bobby Wood and Jermaine Jones will be important, and the instillation of the always-motivated, ever-vocal Tim Howard in goal will keep the team from simply running through the motions.
Colombia is still a very good team, however this is a home game for Klinsmann's squad with more positives to take away from a win, so I see the team pulling off the victory in the end.
Prediction: USA 2 - 1 Colombia