November 14, 2014
USA allows Colombia to rally for 2-1 win
LONDON -- The United States squandered a one-goal lead, surrendering a pair of second-half goals as Colombia rallied for a 2-1 victory in an international friendly at Craven Cottage on Friday night.
Jozy Altidore had given the Americans an early lead before the Colombians rallied behind Carlos Bacca in the 60th minute and Teófilo Gutiérrez' game-winner in the 87th minute in a match-up of two teams that reached the knockout round of the World Cup in Brazil.
Gutiérrez found space on the left side of the penalty area and headed home a short right-wing cross from Edwin Cardona at the far post past goalkeeper Brad Guzan before 24,235 at the home of English Premier League side Fulham FC.
It was the third consecutive game that the USA had surrendered a goal after the 86th minute.
The Americans were gifted a penalty kick in the 10th minute after Pablo Armero was called for an obvious handball in the penalty area. The Colombians argued against the call to no avail.
Colombian goalkeeper Camilo Vargas guessed the right side, diving to his right as Altidore drilled a line drive past him for his 25th international goal and a 1-0 lead.
The Colombians dominated the opening half and forced the issue, but had nothing to show for their attacking efforts. James Rodriguez sent a 20-yard shot wide right in the 21st minute. A minute later, Bacca fired a shot that deflected off a U.S. player out of bounds for a corner kick, but nothing came of the set piece.
The South Americans continued their quest for an equalizer as Bacca, off a Gutiérrez feed, launched a shot that skimmed off the outside of the right post in the 33rd minute.
The U.S.' next-best first-half opportunity came four minutes later when 18-year-old Rubio Rubin, making his international debut, headed a left-wing cross by Kyle Beckerman wide right of its mark.
The Americans dodged a bullet in the 45th minute when Jermaine Jones handled the ball in the penalty area but no call was made.
With the second half only two minutes old, Rubin, who plays for FC Utrecht (Netherlands) again came close, this time heading a left-wing cross by Alejandro Bedoya wide right.
The hard work of Bacca finally paid off in the 60th minute as the U.S. backline, thinking that the Colombians were offside stopped and waited for a whistle that never came. Bacca, who played only 20 minutes during Colombia's quarterfinal run at the World Cup in Brazil, came from a deep position, ran onto the ball, forced goalkeeper Brad Guzan out of the net and deposited it into the back of the net from the right side for a 1-1 tie.
The goal gave the South Americans much confidence as they attacked in waves, forced Guzan to save from Gutiérrez and Carlos Sanchez in the 66th and 68th minutes, respectively.
Defender DaMarcus Beasley, who has played in more World Cups (four) than any other USA player, came on for Greg Garza in the 69th minute.
Rodriguez forced Guzan to make his fourth save of the half with a 72nd-minute attempt from atop the box.
Midfielder Lee Nguyen, who has been a vital performer for the New England Revolution, made his first USA performance in seven years as he replaced Mix Diskerud in the 78th minute.
Only three minutes after he came on, Nguyen was denied by Vargas after a nice passing sequence.
Julian Green, who scored his first World Cup goal on his very first touch in the competition in the 2-1 Round of 16 defeat to Belgium, replaced DeAndre Yedlin in the 86th minute but did not do anything significant.
The Americans will play their final international match of the year against the Republic of Ireland at Aviva Stadium in Dublin on Tuesday.