October 12, 2010
By Michael Lewis
NOTHING TO WRITE HOME ABOUT
U.S., Colombia wind up in boring 0-0 tie
CHESTER, Pa. -- The problem with games like the U.S. and Colombia played on Tuesday night is that they don't really mean a thing.
|Darwin Quintero (left) and Michael Bradley battle for the ball in the second half.
Linda Cuttone/Sports Vue Images
What were the teams playing for?
It was not a tournament encounter or a qualifier. Just an international friendly with no implications.
Yes, the players did try, yet there was no urgency in the scoreless tie at PPL Park -- except maybe to catch the next Trans-Atlantic flight back to their clubs.
Perhaps the thousands of soccer fans who decided to stay away from the game had an inkling what would be going on here.
For the record, a crowd of 8,823 tried to stay awake during the proceedings.
For the record, the teams combined for a total of four shots. That's four shots at goal, not on goal. That's how bad the game was.
"In the first half there was no flow to the game for us," said U.S. midfielder Stuart Holden, who took the first U.S. shot on goal in the 52nd minute. We gave them too much time and space. I didn't think our movement was good. We weren't finding the right spaces. Obviously, it wasn't a good overall half.
"But the second half we talked about it. We changed some things in the locker room. I thought from the first whistle we came out and looked like a completely different team."
Different, but still the same result -- no goals and very few scoring attempts.
The Colombians were given one on a silver platter. With the match barely four minutes old, the Americans dodged a bullet, thanks to Michael Bradley's unforced error at midfield. While dribbling upfield, Bradley tried a short pass to Maurice Edu with two Colombian players converging on the midfielder. A Colombian player got to the ball and started a three-on-two break in which goalkeeper Brad Guzan made a save on Falcao Garcia.
U.S. coach Bob Bradley said that in the first half the hosts "didn’t find a good rhythm. We’re not playing forward fast enough, so we couldn’t put passes together that took us somewhere. As we go forward, as we work on playing some different ways, we have to work on our movement. As a result, even when we put passes together, we didn’t get anywhere.”
Defender Eric Lichaj (Aston Villa) and forward Brek Shea (FC Dallas) made their international debuts. Shea started the game, but was replaced at halftime. Lichaj came on as a halftime substitute.
Lichaj sent a right-wing cross into the box that former Red Bulls forward Jozy Altidore sent to goalkeeper Faryd Mondragon, who saved the shot.
The Americans finished their homestand without a win as they also played Poland to a 2-2 draw in Chicago.
USA : Brad Guzan, Jonathan Spector (Eric Lichaj, 46), Oguchi Onyewu (Michael Parkhurst, 46), Clarence Goodson, Heath Pearce, Maurice Edu (Eddie Johnson, 46), Jermaine Jones, Michael Bradley, Stuart Holden (Benny Feilhaber, 59), Jozy Altidore, Brek Shea (Clint Dempsey, 46)
COL: Faryd Mondragon;, Juan Camilo Zuniga, Aquivaldo Mosquera, Mario Yepes, Juan David Valencia. Victor Ibarbo (4-Juan Guillermo Cuadrado, 63), Jhon Viarfara (Jhon Valencia, 63), John Restrepo, Adrian Ramos (Teofilo Gutierrez, 73); Giovanni Moreno (Pablo Armero, 81), Falcao Garcia (Darwin Quintero, 56)