BARQUISIMETO, Venezuela (July 5, 2007) — With six players getting their first starts of Copa America, the U.S. fell to Colombia, 1-0, in the final match for the two teams that had both been previously eliminated from advancing to the second round of the 2007 tournament.
Only two players in the U.S. starting lineup – Eddie Johnson (29) and Dan Califf (15) – came into the match with double-digit caps, and six of the first XI for the U.S. had three or fewer caps. Goalkeeper Brad Guzan, defenders Drew Moor and Bobby Boswell, midfielders Kyle Beckerman and Sacha Kljestan and forward Herculez Gomez came into the match with a combined 10 caps.
Despite a heroic penalty kick save by Guzan in the first half and a late red card to the Colombian goalkeeper, the U.S. wasn’t able to overcome a 15th minute goal by Jaime Castrillon.
"In all three games, I think we had moments when we played well,” said U.S. head coach Bob Bradley. “We still must be more consistent over 90 minutes in order to move to the next level. As we have said over the last few weeks, it is a great challenge to play in back-to-back tournaments. You run into situations with the various clubs, and as a result we brought a younger team here.”
“This is an excellent tournament. The atmosphere in the stadiums, the passion, is something that is very special. We greatly appreciate the opportunity to have played in the 2007 Copa America."
The first-ever match at the newly minted Estadio Metropolitan saw both teams with several free kicks in dangerous areas in the first half, but neither side was able to convert. Gomez put a shot wide in the fifth minute, and Kljestan fired right at the keeper in the 22nd minute for the most dangerous efforts for the U.S.
Colombia got on the board first in 14th minute on a goal by Castrillon. After Boswell cleared out a long ball, Camilo Zuniga received a throw in and was able to send an uncontested cross in to Castrillon, who made a perfect run, beat Moor to the ball and headed it down inside the far post to a helpless Guzan, who, making his first start of 2007, had no chance.
After a turnover in the U.S. half in the 35th minute Colombia quickly countered, slotting a ball between the U.S. back line to the on-rushing Hugo Rodallega who was in alone when Guzan came off his line and took him down as Rodallega tried to take a touch around the U.S. goalkeeper. Rodallega stepped up to take the spot kick, and his effort was denied by Guzan, who dove to his right to make the save.
At halftime, Eddie Gaven made his second appearance of the tournament and the fifth of his career, as the former Under-17 and Under-20 National Team star replaced Gomez. The change combined with the halftime break sparked life into the U.S., who at times had the better of play in the second half.
Gaven put a shot over the cross bar after Justin Mapp served in a cross from the left in the 53rd minute, and later in the 70th minute the U.S. put together on of it’s best chances. Second-half substitute Charlie Davies, making his Copa America debut, muscled off a defender in the area after Kljestan played one-touch chip over the Colombia back line. Davies dribbled out the left side of the area, Colombia goalkeeper Robinson Zapata in tow, before dropping the ball off to Eddie Johnson. Johnson took a touch inside before curling his shot toward the far post as Zapata scrambled back into his goalmouth.
After a Kljestan header went over the goal in the 79th minute, the Colombians had the next chance in the 83rd minute. Andres Chitiva started the counter-attack after the U.S. had pushed forward, rushing up the right side and drawing Guzan off his line. Chitiva then touched a square ball to Rodallega in the center of the area looking at an open goal, but Lee Nguyen ran the full length of the field to touch the ball out for a corner at the last moment to keep the U.S. hopes for a result alive.
A bizarre sequence in the 86th and 87th minutes saw a U.S. goal by Kyle Beckerman called back correctly for offside just prior to Zapata, the Colombian goalkeeper, being shown a red card after receiving his second yellow card, both of which were for delay.
Off a corner kick, the ball bounced into the area for Boswell and Davies, who each tried to take a shot from near the penalty spot. It was Boswell who finally connected, but his effort bounced to the right post where Beckerman hammered it into the net from five yards out. The assistant referee's flag, however, went up immediately as Beckerman was clearly behind the Colombian back line. On the restart, Venezuelan referee Manuel Andarcia determined that Zapata was, again, taking too long as he took off his gloves to adjust his shoelaces. Andarcia wasted no time and showed the goalkeeper his second caution of the night.
The game eventually resumed in the 90th minute as a 10-man Colombian team put Rodallega, who had earlier missed from the penalty spot, in the net as they had already made their three allotted substitutions.
In four minutes of stoppage time, the U.S. only managed to one opportunity as a more experienced Colombian team was determined to kill what little time remained on the clock.
The U.S. returns from Copa America having given 11 players their first taste of a tournament with the full national team, as Beckerman, Boswell, Davies, Gaven, Gomez, Guzan, Kljestan, Moor, Nguyen, Heath Pearce and Marvell Wynne had never before appeared in a FIFA World Cup qualifying or CONCACAF Gold Cup match. For Gomez, Moor and Wynne, it was their first-ever national team caps.
After a 10-0-1 start under Bradley that included winning the CONCACAF Gold Cup, the USA’s home confederation’s tournament, the U.S. traveled to Venezuela with a youthful team and has lost three consecutive games for the first time since a trio of World Cup qualifiers between July 1 and Sept. 5, 2001. By winning the Gold Cup, the U.S. will be one of eight select teams taking part in the 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup in South Africa, along side the eventual winner of the Copa America.
Next up on the U.S. schedule are three friendlies in Europe, beginning on Aug. 22 vs. Sweden in Goteberg, Sweden at 2:30 p.m. ET live on Fox Soccer Channel and Galavision. The U.S. then takes advantage of a double FIFA date in October, first facing Catalonia on Oct. 14 at the Nou Camp in Barcelona, Spain, and then traveling to face Switzerland on Oct. 17. Both October matches will also be televised on Fox Soccer Channel and Galavision.
-- U.S. Men’s National Team Game Report --
Match-up: USA vs. Colombia
Date: July 5, 2007
Competition: Copa America 2007
Venue: Estadio Metropolitano
Kickoff: 6:35 p.m. ET
Weather: 75 degrees, muggy
Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
USA 0 0 0
Colombia 1 0 1
COL – 17-Jaime Castrillón 14th minute
USA: 23-Brad Guzan; 15-Drew Moor, 4-Bobby Boswell, 7-Dan Califf (capt.), 6-Heath Pearce; 16-Sacha Kljestan, 17-Kyle Beckerman, 19-Ricardo Clark, 21-Justin Mapp (10-Charlie Davies, 64); 9-Eddie Johnson (25-Lee Nguyen, 72), 8-Herculez Gomez (11-Eddie Gaven, 46)
Subs not used:18-Kasey Keller, 2-Marvell Wynne, 3-Jay DeMerit, 5-Benny Feilhaber, 12-Jimmy Conrad, 13-Jonathan Bornstein, 14-Ben Olsen, 20-Taylor Twellman
Head Coach: Bob Bradley
COL: 12-Robinson Zapata, 22-Camilo Zuñiga, 14-Luis Perea, 3-Mario Yépez, 5-Javier Arizala; 17-Jaime Castrillón, 21-Jorge Banguero, 15-John Viáfara (13-Vladimir Marín, 55), 20-Macnelly Torres (8-David Ferreira, 85); 19-César Valoyes (10-Andrés Chitiva, 78), 11-Hugo Rodallega
Subs not used:1-Miguel Calero, 2-Iván Córdoba, 4-Gerardo Vallejo, 6-Fabián Vargas, 7-Edixon Perea, 9-Alvaro Rodríguez, 16-Jair Benítez, 18-Luis Rey
Head Coach: Jorge Luis Pinto
Stats Summary: USA COL
Shots 5 6
Saves 2 1
Corner Kicks 6 7
Fouls 18 14
Offside 3 4
USA – Drew Moor (caution) 2nd minute
USA – Sacha Kljestan (caution) 32.
COL – Luis Perea (caution) 42.
USA – Justin Mapp (caution) 55.
COL – Robinson Zapata (caution) 71.
COL – César Valoyes (caution) 78.
COL – Robinson Zapata (caution) 87.
COL – Robinson Zapata (sent off) 87
Referee: Manuel Andarcia (VEN)
1st Asst.: Placido Chuello (VEN)
2nd Asst.: Luis Avila (PER)
Fourth Official: Victor Rivera (PER)
Sierra Mist Man of the Match: Brad Guzan