LETTING IT SLIP Colombia topped by Ticos, loses Group A lead
By Ian Quillen Soccer News Net Contributing Editor
HOUSTON -- Johan Venegas scored a goal and set up another before halftime, Celso Borges added a second-half strike, and Costa Rica helped the United States with a 3-2 victory over Colombia on Saturday night.
Frank Fabra scored an early equalizer for Colombia, then contributed an own goal on a night that saw his side lose an opportunity to finish top of Copa America Centenario's Group A.
Marlos Moreno scored late for the Colombians (2-1-0, 6 points), who fell short of the U.S. (2-1-0, 6 points) on goal difference and will face the Group B winner – Brazil, Ecuador or Peru – in East Rutherford, N.J., on Friday.
With his side already qualified for the quarterfinals entering the match, Colombia manager Jose Pekerman decided to rest all but one of his starters from Tuesday’s 2-1 victory over Paraguay.
But after trailing, 2-1, at halftime, Pekerman sent on James Rodriguez and Edwin Cardona in an attempt to get back in the match.
Instead, Costa Rica built on its lead in the 58th minute when Christian Bolanos found Bryan Oviedo wide on the right. The outside back struck Bolanos’ service on the first bounce toward the penalty spot, and Borges ran onto it to smash his first touch past Robinson Zapata.
Pekerman inserted Juan Cuadrado shortly after, and his cross helped Colombia pull a goal back in the 73rd minute. After chesting down on the right flank, he found Moreno, who hammered his first touch between the near post and goalkeeper Patrick Pemberton from eight yards.