GBU Report: USA vs. Colombia

The United States Men’s National Team lost their first match of Copa America to Colombia 2-0. Despite the loss, there were some positives and plenty of negatives from the USMNT’s performance. Here is the good, bad, and ugly (the GBU Report) for Friday night’s match.

GBU Report: USA vs. Colombia

The Good

  • Dempsey’s seven shots. The only U.S. forward that seemed to be trying to produce any offense was forward Clint Dempsey. Dempsey managed to put two shots on goal, which accounted for all of the Yanks’ shots on target.
  • Guzan settles in. After a rough start in which the U.S. conceded a goal within the first 10 minutes, USMNT goalkeeper Brad Guzan kept the U.S. in the match with five saves. He allowed just one run-of-play goal for the match against a Colombian team ranked third in the world.
  • Opportunities aplenty. The Yanks did manage to earn five set-pieces, four corners, and three quality scoring chances. This should be a positive that Head Coach Jurgen Klinsmann can build off of as he prepares for Costa Rica.
  • -2 goal differential. Losing to Colombia is bad, but keeping a respectable goal differential may be a key to the U.S. advancing to the knock-out stage.

The Bad

  • Cameron’s lapse. Center-back Geoff Cameron lost his mark Cristian Zapata for match’s first goal, which put the U.S. in the hole early. Cameron had to go around teammate Michael Bradley on the match’s first corner, which freed up enough space for Zapata’s goal in the 8th minute.
  • Bradley at the six. Klinsmann had been experimenting with the 4-3-3, shifting midfielder Michael Bradley from an attacking midfielder to a defensive midfielder. This placed regular defensive mid Jermaine Jones on the left to be an attacker. While the experiment appeared to be successful with the USA’s 4-0 win over Bolivia, it backfired tremendously against Colombia. Bradley struggled to press the ball through the center of the pitch, relying on his flanks or the center-backs behind him. Bradley was also responsible for numerous turnovers, including a potential dagger at 77′ which set up a Carlos Bacca break away chance; Bacca’s shot hit the crossbar.
  • Jermaine on the attack. With Bradley playing in the middle of Colombia’s 4-2-3-1, Jermaine Jones needed to step up, but the attack mostly came from Alejandro Bedoya’s half of the pitch or through the middle.
  • Yedlin’s handball. Unlucky, but preventable. Right-back Deandre Yedlin was whistled for a handball after he turned on a Farid Diaz shot inside the 18-yard-box. The play was setup on a Michael Bradley dispossession in the defensive half, and forced a hasty retreat by the defense. Yedlin put himself between Diaz and Guzan, but his right hand was in an unnatural position away from his body, causing Diaz’s shot to careen off Yedlin’s hand and was flagged by referee Roberto Garcia Orozco.
  • Darlington Nagbe MIA. Midfielder Darlington Nagbe entered the match at 66′, managed just four touches in his first 20 minutes, and was dispossessed. Many fans had been calling on Nagbe to be that presence in the middle of the pitch as Jones seemed to struggle, but Nagbe was equally ineffective.
  • Brooks feels the pressure. Center-back John Brooks did not have kind words for Colombian midfielder Juan Cuadrado after Cuadrado went down on Brooks’s challenge at 54′. The tackle was aggressive, even though Brooks appeared to win the ball cleanly. Brooks stood over Cuadrado, which caused the assistant referee to have to intervene. As the match wore on, Brooks became noticeably more frustrated.

The Ugly

  • Three forwards, zero shots. Forwards Gyasi Zardes, Bobby Wood, and Christian Pulisic had a combined 200+ minutes, and none could produce any shots. Expect a lineup change at forward versus Costa Rica for Wood or Zardes.
  • 12 shots, two on target. Don’t expect to win games when only 16.7% of your shots have a chance of scoring. Colombia put seven of their 13 on frame, a 53.8% conversion rate. Dempsey managed two of his seven shots on target for a 28.5% conversion rate. For the record, Chris Wondolowski, the one forward that did not play, has a USMNT shot conversion rate of 56.25%.

The United States next plays Costa Rica in Chicago at 8:00pm EDT. 

Main Photo: Josh Edelson, Getty Images

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