Five Things to Know about Colombia

The USMNT meets Colombia at Commanders Field in Landover, Md. on Saturday, June 8 at 5:30 p.m. ET in a warm-up for Copa America 2024 (TNT, Telemundo, Universo, Max, Peacock, FDP)
By: Michael Lewis
two Colombian players in yellow kits and blue shorts celebrate running through the midfield during a match
two Colombian players in yellow kits and blue shorts celebrate running through the midfield during a match

In the first of two warm-up matches to be held prior to Copa America 2024, the U.S. Men's National Team will take on Colombia in an international friendly at Commanders Field in Landover, Md. on Saturday, June 8 at 5:30 p.m. ET. (TNT, Telemundo, Universo, Max, Peacock, FDP).

After missing the 2022 FIFA World Cup, Colombia enters the match on a tear. The South Americans boast a 21-game unbeaten streak (16-0-5) that dates back to early 2022. After losing 1-0 at Argentina in a World Cup Qualifying match on Feb. 1, 2022, they blanked Bolivia 3-0 at home on March 24, 2022, and haven't lost since. That streak includes victories over Germany, Spain and Brazil. Colombia has recorded 13 clean sheets and conceded only 13 goals during the streak.

The Americans enter the match with a seven-game winless streak (0-5-2) against Los Cafeteros, which goes back 19 years to a 3-0 home win on March 9, 2005.

After this contest, the USA will host Brazil in another warm-up match at Camping World Stadium in Orlando, Fla. on June 12 at 7 p.m. ET. The Colombians will take on Bolivia in a warm-up game at Rentschler Field in East Hartford, Conn. on June 15 at 5 p.m. ET.

The USMNT kicks off their Copa America 2024 campaign in Group C against Bolivia in Arlington, Texas on June 23, followed by Panama in Atlanta on June 27 and Uruguay in Kansas City, Mo. on July 1.

In Group D, Colombia is set to face Paraguay in Houston on June 24, Costa Rica in Glendale, Ariz. on June 28 and Brazil in Santa Clara, Calif. on July 2.


The South Americans have qualified for the FIFA World Cup six times - 1962, 1990, 1994, 1998, 2014 and 2018. Their best showing came during the 2014 competition in Brazil, as they finished fifth overall after reaching the quarterfinals. Behind the scoring heroics of Golden Boot winner James Rodriguez (six goals), the South American side won all three of its Group C matches - 3-0 over Greece, 2-1 past Ivory Coast and 4-1 over Japan. After defeating Uruguay 2-0 in the Round of 16, the team lost to Brazil 2-1 in the quarterfinals.

Their most disappointing performance came at the 1994 FIFA World Cup. They entered as one of the favorites, but were eliminated in the group stage with a 1-2-0 mark and a last-place finish in Group A. That included a historic 2-1 defeat to the USMNT.

The Colombians captured their lone Copa America crown in 2001, outscoring the opposition 11-0. They defeated Concacaf invitee Mexico 1-0 in the final on Ivan Cordoba's 65th-minute goal. Colombia also have finished third on five occasions (1987, 1993, 1995, 2016 and 2021). The team has reached the knockout round four consecutive times, and in nine out of its last 10 tourneys.

Colombia has produced some of the most productive players in the world. Many American soccer audiences will remember Carlos Valderrama, a former member of the Tampa Bay Mutiny, who seemed to produce goal-scoring opportunities out of nowhere with deft passes to teammates for club and country. Goalkeeper David Ospina is the all-time caps leader (128), while Radamel Falcao tops the country's scoring list (36 goals), followed by James Rodriguez (27 goals).


These two countries have met 21 times, with the South Americans leading the series with a 3-13-5 mark.

In their first encounter, the Colombians secured a 2-0 victory in a friendly on a muddy field before 35,000 spectators in Bogota, Colombia on Feb. 5, 1961. The hosts scored in the 22nd and 34th minutes, after the opening 20 minutes were played in the rain.

In took more than 23 years before they met again on Oct. 11, 1984, as the U.S. registered a 1-0 friendly win in Los Angeles, Calif. Ade Coker tallied the lone goal in the 84th minute, converting Chance Fry's feed, in front of an estimated crowd of 20,000 at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena. Winston DuBose earned the clean sheet.

The USA then endured a six-game winless streak against their foes before pulling off one of most memorable upsets at a FIFA World Cup on June 22, 1994. The Americans secured a 2-1 triumph over Colombia, considered one of the competition's favorites. An own goal by Colombia defender Andres Escobar scored a 35th-minute own goal and Earnie Stewart doubled the lead past goalkeeper Oscar Cordoba in the 52nd minute at the Rose Bowl. Halftime substitute Adolfo Valencia spoiled keeper Tony Meola's shutout bid in the 90th minute.

A scoreless draw was more like a victory for the USMNT in the final match of the U.S. Cup before 36,000 fans at Rutgers Stadium in Piscataway, N.J. on June 25, 1995. The tie gave the Americans the tournament crown. On the final play of the encounter, midfielder Mike Burns provided the saving graces, heading away Jorge Bermudez's 18-yard header off the goal line at the near post. Goalie Brad Friedel recorded the shutout.

In the first of two Copa America meetings, Colombia bested the U.S., 4-1, in the third-place match in Maldonado, Uruguay on July 22, 1995. Luis Quinonez, Carlos Valderrama, Faustino Asprilla and Freddy Rincon found the net for the winners. Joe-Max Moore converted a penalty kick for the USA. In the second Copa meeting in Barquisimeto, Venezauela on July 5, 2007, the USMNT was eliminated from the tournament, dropping a 1-0 decision. Jaime Castrillon scored in the 14th minute.

In the Americans' third win in the series, a 3-0 friendly result in Fullerton, Calif. on March 9, 2005, Chad Marshall, Clint Mathis and Pat Noonan, the current FC Cincinnati head coach, found the net as goalkeeper Jonathan Bush earned the shutout.

The teams' most recent encounter resulted in a scoreless tie in Carson, Calif. on Jan. 28, 2023, in interim head coach Anthony Hudson’s second game in charge. Colombia’s Alvaro Montero and the USA’s Sean Johnson, who are on their respective team’s rosters for Saturday’s match, were credited with clean sheets. Paxten Aaronson and John Tolkin made their USMNT debuts.


Since playing to a 0-0 draw at Ecuador in a WCQ on Oct. 17, Los Cafeteros have won six consecutive contests.

Their streak started with a 2-1 home victory against Brazil in WCQ, overcoming an early one-goal deficit behind a late brace by Luis Diaz (75th and 79yh minutes) on Nov. 16. Five days later, they notched another qualifying result, riding Rafael Borre's 11th-minute penalty kick to a 1-0 triumph at Paraguay.

In the first of four consecutive friendlies, Colombia downed Venezuela, 1-0, in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., on an own goal, on Dec. 10 before defeating Mexico, 3-2, in Los Angeles on Dec. 16. New York Red Bulls center back Andres Reyes (55th minute), Roger Martinez (69th minute) and Andres Gomez (two minutes into stoppage) scored goals.

The Colombians also have won both of their games this year, blanking Spain in London 1-0 on March 22 via Daniel Munoz's 61st-minute goal. In Madrid, Spain on March 26, they edged out Romania 3-2 after initially grabbing a three-goal lead. Jhon Cordoba, Jhon Arias and Yaser Asprilla found the net for the winners.


Nestor Lorenzo was named manager on June 2, 2022, replacing Reinaldo Rueda, who had been fired that April in wake of Colombia failing to qualify for the 2022 FIFA World Cup. Since taking over the coaching reins, the South American squad is undefeated in 18 successive matches (13-0-5).

After a playing career as a defender for Argentinos Juniors, San Lorenzo, Banfield, Ferro Carril Oeste and Boca Juniors (all Argentina), Bari (Italy), and Swindon Town (England) as well as the Argentine National Team (13 caps, one goal), Lorenzo turned to coaching.

Now 58, Lorenzo was an assistant coach for the Argentina Under-20 and full National Teams, and with Leganes (Spain), Toluca and Tigres UANL (both) Mexico, before getting an opportunity to be the head man with Melgar (Peru) from 2021-22.


Manager Nestor Lorenzo has selected 28 players on his team, only one of which plays domestically in Colombia - Millonarios goalkeeper Alvaro Montero.

The South Americans' squad is a blend of youth and experience. Fifteen players, slightly more than half the roster, play their club ball in Europe. Six players perform in England, and another six in Brazil.

Team captain and midfielder James Rodriguez, the Golden Boot winner at the 2014 FIFA World Cup, is still an important player for Los Cafeteros. He has represented Colombia 98 times, connecting for team-high 27 goals. Rodriguez, who plays for Sao Paolo (Brazil), scored against the USMNT in a 2-0 win at 2016 Copa America Centenario. He also tallied in a 4-2 win over the USA in Tampa, Fla. on Oct. 11, 2018. Rodriguez also holds the distinction of scoring at least one goal in four consecutive FIFA World Cup qualifying tournaments (2014, 2018, 2022, 2026), most recently finding the range in a 2-2 home tie with Uruguay in a 2026 qualifier.

The only other player on the squad with double digits in goals is forward Luis Diaz (11 in 47 games). Diaz is coming off a season with Liverpool (England), in which he scored eight goals in 37 matches.

Goalkeeper David Ospina, 35, is Colombia's all-time caps leader with 128. Rodriguez is next with 98 appearances. Goalie Camilo Vargas, who is six months older than Ospina, is the oldest player at 35. Forward John Duran is the youngest at 20.

Veteran forward Radamel Falcao, 38, the national team's all-time leading goal-scorer (36 in 104 games), struggled to get playing time for Rayo Vallecano (Spain) this season and was left out of the squad.


GOALKEEPERS (3): Alvaro Montero (Millonarios; 8/0), Camilo Vargas (Atlas/MEX; 21/0), David Ospina (Al Nassr/RSA; 128/0)

DEFENDERS (9): Carlos Cuesta (Genk/BEL; 13/0), Jhon Lucumí (Bologna/ITA; 18/0), Santiago Arias (Bahia/BRA; 56/0), Yerson Mosquera (Villareal/ESP; 3/0), Johan Mojica (CA Osasuna/ESP; 24/1), Daniel Munoz (Crystal Palace/ENG; 25/1), Yerry Mina (Cagliari/ITA; 43/7), Davinson Sanchez (Galatasaray S.K./TUR; 58/1), Deiver Machado (Lens/FRA; 9/0)

MIDFIELDERS (10): Kevin Castano (Krasnodar/RUS; 7/0), Richard Ríos (Palmeiras/BRA; 5/0), Jorge Carrascal (Dynamo Moscow/RUS; 13/1), James Rodríguez (Sao Paulo/BRA; 98/27), Jhon Arias (Fluminense/BRA; 13/1), Jefferson Lerma (Crystal Palace/ENG; 41/1), Juan Fernando Quintero (Racing/ARG; 34/4), Yaser Asprilla (Watford/ENG; 4/2), Mateus Uribe (Al-Sadd/QAT; 53/6), Luis Sinisterra (A.F.C. Bournemouth/ENG; 11/3)

FORWARDS (6): Luis Diaz (Liverpool/ENG; 47/11), Jhon Cordoba (Krasnodar/RUS; 3/1), Sebastian Gomez (Coritiba/BRA; 2/0), Rafael Santos Borre (S.C. Internacional/BRA; 32/5), Miguel Angel Borja (River Plate/ARG; 27/8), Jhon Jader Duran (Aston Villa; ENG/ 8/1)

Go Deeper