The first of the USMNT‘s final two games of 2014 ended with a loss. A late Teofilo Gutierrez header sent a Colombia-filled Craven Cottage into raptures as they finally broke the spirited USA resistance.
Jozy Altidore had given Klinsmann’s side an early lead from the penalty spot after Pablo Armero handled in the box, and they took their 1-0 lead into halftime.
However, the yellow surge of Colombian talent kept driving in the second-half and Carlos Bacca’s goal in the 60th minute turned the game on its head.
Colombia were lifted by the goal and their relentless pressure eventually paid off as Gutierrez guided his header past Brad Guzan in the 87th minute to seal the victory.
Klinsmann will be unhappy with the result, but the performance his players gave will leave him with plenty of positives to take:
1. Jermaine Jones was immense in the centre of defence
Jones was once again started at centre-back despite failing to convince in the previous friendlies against Ecuador and Honduras. But the New England Revolution powerhouse put in a dominant display against the no.3 ranked team in the World and was at the centre of everything the USA did defensively. Klinsmann’s experiment looks to have paid off and Jones could be given more and more time at the back as a result.
2. Jozy Altidore led by example with another goalEmbed from Getty Images
Altidore took the captains armband for the game on Friday night and impressed as he led the line well and got on the scoresheet yet again. His goal came from the penalty spot but take nothing away from his performance as he worked tirelessly up top and proved once again that he should be getting opportunities at club level with Sunderland.
3. Kyle Beckerman bossed the midfield again
Playing against a player of the calibre of James Rodriguez would test even the best holding midfielder in the world, but Beckerman wasn’t phased and looked calm in the middle of the pitch. The Real Salt Lake veteran broke the play up on several occasions and his ability to remain calm at all times helped the team to escape pressure throughout. Another excellent display by the 32-year-old.
4. Rubio Rubin makes good start to life with USMNTEmbed from Getty Images
The 18-year-old forward was handed a starting role against Colombia and didn’t look out of his depth on his international debut. He worked hard and looked more than capable of holding his own against experienced defenders. He had a great chance to make it 2-0 after the break but his header just flew past the right-hand post. His positioning to get the chance was encouraging though and Rubin looks set for a bright future.
5. Lee Nguyen can cut it at the top
Nguyen was brought on late in the second-half for his first USMNT appearance for seven years and he didn’t look out of his depth one bit. The New England Revolution playmaker found space in the final third when he came on and nearly set up a wonder goal with a lovely back-heel flick in a promising move late on. The MLS MVP candidate looks set for an increased number of minutes for Klinsmann’s side in upcoming games.
What did you make of the USA’s performance against Colombia on Friday?