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USMNT finishes fourth at Copa America after falling to Colombia

Photo by Allan Henry/USA Today Sports
Photo by Allan Henry/USA Today Sports

The U.S. Men’s National Team struggled to create chances in their Copa America opener against Colombia. In Saturday’s rematch, chances came in flurries, but the result remained the same.

Colombia clinched third place at the Copa America Centenario, defeating the U.S., 1-0, at University of Phoenix Stadium.

Carlos Bacca gave the Colombians a 1-0 lead in the 31st minute, after James Rodriguez continued to create key chances for Los Cafeteros. Receiving the ball at the top of the box, Rodriguez chipped the ball over the USMNT backline and into the path of Santiago Arias, who then headed it across to Bacca for the tap-in finish.

The U.S. found their best opportunity of the first half eight minutes later, when Clint Dempsey slipped a clever pass to Bobby Wood, but the ball got caught under the forward’s legs and was ultimately cleared by Colombia.

Dempsey and the USMNT came out strong in the second half, and the Seattle Sounders forward nearly pulled the host nation level in the 51st minute. The 33-year-old curled a tremendous free kick towards the top corner, but Colombia keeper David Ospina made an equally special diving save to preserve the lead.

Moments after Juan Cuadrado nearly stunned Tim Howard with a chip from the edge of the penalty area, Wood nearly found the U.S.’ first of the evening when he struck the post with a powerful effort.

A pair of late red cards distributed to USMNT defender Michael Orozco and Colombia’s Arias stunted the late flurry of pressure from the U.S., as they conceded third place in the tournament.


  1. Wondo, Zusi, Besler, Orozco, and Beckerman : useless experience, not good enough for elite teams and have no future with age close to retirement.

    • Beckerman and Wondo, I would totally agree with. Orozco, can play all four defensive positions which makes him ideal for training at least, and no one else at LB has really made a claim they deserve a spot, beside maybe Villafana, who needed a break after playing from March to May with no break.

      Zusi, also no one else has made a claim for that spot, Klejstan is older, Finlay has been awful this season, Lletget has been even worse than that, Grella is 29 which seems late to introduce to int. game, Arriola is young and more a FW than MF, Green was playing 4th division, Rubin isn’t a midfielder nor is Morris. Kiessewetter, had only played two matches since Christmas and those were U23 games, Gyau and Gatt are both injured.

      Besler is an excellent back up for Brooks, JK likes to have a left footed LB, and if he can continue to provide back up at LB he needs to stick around. Miazga (not left footed) played what 3 1/2 matches since November and Carter Vickers is still recovering from injury, Gonzo also hasn’t had much of a break since last Feb. due to his transfer to Liga Mx just a couple of weeks since LA went out earlier than Villafana and Portland.

  2. What do people think which formation fits each player best?

    4-3-3: Zardes, Pulisic, Nagbe, Bedoya, Zusi, (Finlay, Williams?, Morales?, Green)

    4-4-2: Dempsey, Wood, Bradley, (Morris, Hyndman?, Ream, )

    Either: Centerbacks and GKs

    Not sure: FJ, Yedlin, Jones (Jozy)

    Seems to me Dempsey is the key to the formation if we continue to start Clint, we have to play a 4-4-2 and kind of squeeze everyone else around him to fit. Wood played better in the 4-4-2, but I think he would be fine as the CF in the 433.

  3. as I’ve said in my posts, talking about results, not playing style. if the scoring in soccer was like gymnastics with judges, or ice skating where artistic impression counts, style would matter more to me.

    as for playing this style or that style, it all depends who we’re playing…we played a 4 3 3 vs. Costa Rica because of how they defend (do you understand what I just said there or would like me to explain?) yesterday we played basically flat 4 4 2…exactly what Arena and Bradley would have played. against Belgium in the World Cup, that was another thing altogether.

    as for playing out of the back, it’s good if it works, but no points for artistic impression, so it depends. There are other very successful ways to play that are not like that, that are in fact designed to beat that style. Have you noticed in the Copa how many goals came off turnovers in a team’s own half? in their own defensive third? a TON as teams try to play out of the back and fail. Check out Atletico, or this year’s premier league champs as other fine examples

    BUT your point was that the USMNT were hard to watch before and all I did was point out numerous specific examples where you were wrong.

    as for technically gifted sides, 2002 is without doubt right there with any USMNT ever and they proved it…I definitely stand by that. you seem to disagree with that however, which is fine.

    Judging a team by whether they try to play out of the back or not or on whether they try to play possession soccer is just silly, unless of course we go to the ice skating scoring method for soccer…then I’m all in. being stuck always trying to play possession out of the back is often times tactically stupid anyway, which is not news btw although you sound unaware of this fact so hopefully I’m helping you out

    • 2002 was I think our best offensive group, that back line of Pope, Agoos, Sannah and Hejduk was not very good defensively, but Friedel was a wall at that time. Reyna, O,Brien, and Lewis were all such good passers in MF and with Bease and LD just terrorizing people with speed and McBride in the middle to head home anything close they were tough. Of course we still needed SK to beat Portugal to get out of the group.

      • Hey Johnnie, Agoos was bad, but Sanneh wasn’t, and Pope could do the things I think you want from your back line folks even today.. And Frankie was his own impactful force out there, I’d take him at his prime today too in the mix, but Eddie for sure

      • Sanneh was ok, but I hated DC United at the time because they had been so good the first few years of MLS so I discounted Tony somewhat. That back four gave up 6 goals in our group matches which was pretty bad, but once Agoos (got hurt) and we brought in Berhalter and switched more to 3-5-2 it was better. I still get a tear in my eye when I think about John O’Brien, he was so good, but injuries killed his career.

        Of course all of this is colored by the fact I was getting up at like 3 AM to watch the games, we might have been complete junk but I was so bleary eyed we looked good.

    • You make some interesting points unfortunately they didn’t come close to addressing my questions. And your responses assume positions that I never took. I do believe that well executed possession play can be effective and is definitely more entertaining than blaster ball. Now, since you have a bad habit of extrapolating from my remarks positions that I never took, let me clarify–long balls out of the back are not only highly effective and entertaining but perfectly complement a possession game as Barca has learned under Enrique. Based on your other comments, I expected a much more cogent argument than the old “no points for style”. Here’s a much easier question: why do you like soccer? My reason for asking is that since US culture does not promote or encourage interest in soccer, when someone becomes involved there must be something else that attracts them! Since it’s obviously not the inherent beauty of skillful play then what is it? BTW. nobody really cares how long you’ve been involved with soccer.

  4. Just checking — then you see no improvement in the attempt to play a possession game with our backs bringing up the ball? And you feel that Bradley, Arena, etc all attempted to play a more technical, skill-based game?

      • just read the numbers in the post…very measured. I’ll post them below so you can see them this time and in the article, there is more. Measure enough for you?

        Under Klinsmann the US are now 0-5-1 in official competitions (non-friendlies) against teams ranked in the top 10 of the Elo Ratings. Under the previous three coaches combined, the US were 5-15-2, including wins over the likes of Argentina, Brazil, Germany, Spain and Portugal.

        Given the sample sizes, this could be just a run of bad luck. But I don’t think it is, and the underlying numbers explain why:

        Steve Sampson’s teams played 450 minutes vs. teams in the Elo top 10, held the lead for 21.1% of the time
        Bruce Arena’s teams played 810 minutes vs. teams in the Elo top 10, held the led for 22.2% of the time
        Bob Bradley’s teams played 720 minutes vs. teams in the Elo top 10, held the lead for 25.5% of the time
        Jurgen Klinsmann’s teams have played 570 mins vs. teams in the Elo top 10, and have held the lead for 1.6% of the time

      • Still don’t see how this is a measured response. Why does it matter how long we had a lead? We had better possession stats in 1998 and lost all three games and finished dead last and he used a graphic before to show why we did “worse” in 2014 than 1998 because of this stat. Doyle has used whatever stats he wants to cherry pick to make Klinsmann look bad. This isn’t how soccer works. There’s a reason most of the US soccer media is terrible and he is point 1, 2 and 3.

      • CO, again, it’s not possession stats at play here, or other stats regarding style of play. It’s stats about results…and a look into why they are what they are in. The revelation of essentially always playing from behind against the best teams in the world is illuminating, even if you still fail to see it

      • Like I asked why does it matter whether you lead 100% or 1% of the time? He likes to cherry pick that’s not measured at all. Jk has a beef with Garber and you see it in the way mls treats anything he does good or bad.

      • fine…it’s awesome to play from behind, that’s the way you get the results promised…lol

        btw, I could care less about Doyle or any other hack, I don’t read those folks, a friend sent me that link and I just found the FACTS about playing from behind, even when playing 60% of our USMNT games against those top teams AT HOME with Klinsmann the coach, very significant, because it is.

        sorry you’re so caught up in the political BS between Garber and Klinsmann and your feelings on Doyl to miss the realities being shared here.

      • There’s no realities being shown here. For these matches he chose to use. How much of the match was tied vs one team in the lead? Why does he include Brazil and Argentina games when Argentina used their bench and Brazil only brought a B squad at best to that Gold Cup? It’s all misleading just like everything he writes. Just because he uses numbers that sound appealing to you doesn’t make them mean anything.

      • Can someone help when did we beat Germany in a non-friendly? Is he counting one of the old Nike Cups or something or am I losing my memory.

    • Beach bum. If you really like stats that much, you should be following baseball, not soccer. Watching previous teams was painful! Win or lose! Hard working, never-say-die, blaster ball! US media and fans love to toss around the term the beautiful game, but when it comes to watching and discussing the game beauty never comes up!!! It’s no wonder that we can’t develop exceptional players when they have never been taught to appreciate beautiful moves, passes, or traps. I have no illusions regarding the current status of our team under JK I firmly believe that he has us on the road to becoming a high level, skillful team. The current back line is absolutely the most skillfull with the ball at their feet, witness their play in the entire tournament. Jones, Bedoya, and Zardes are playing good interpassinggames andbetterplayers are on the way.

      • Haha! thanks for the advise. I’ll go with my 35+ years of experience though. Besides, those aren’t stats on playing style or anything, those are simply stats on winning and losing, and what I see as a road to understanding why. spin it however you must heelfans

        the evolution of USsoccer has been going on for some time. the World Cup game vs. Portugal in 2002 is still as exciting a brand of soccer I have ever seen us play. Period. Couple that with the win vs. Mexico in that World Cup and that team was as exciting and able as any we have ever produced and proved it on the biggest stage. Hardly painful to watch.

        in 2010, the Slovenia game was incredible, reminded me of last night’s game somewhat. Algeria was not a boring game or painful to watch! Neither was the Confed Cup loss to Brazil, though it was a loss. Hardly painful to watch.

        The ever-mounting dos a cero victories over Mexico in WC qualis have hardly been painful to watch, and I’ve been to many of them.

        The road to high level has been up and down all the time, as with JK. No need to jump to defend him from that reality

    • What’s interesting is using that logic Steve Sampson was the best US manager, with three wins against the top ten, even though all of them where against either reserves of B squads. I guess not every meaningful game is meaningful. (I’m not sure I’d count the ’99 Confed cup as a real tournament either)

  5. Too bad that Brooks and FJ had knocks for this game; it could have made a difference. Substitutes need to be made much sooner. I would have liked to see Pulisic and Nagbe start this game. Beckerman Wondo and Orozco should be all put to pasture. In two years our bench should be much better. The three suspensions for the Argentina game just killed us. If the US was at full strength for that game, the score would have not been 4-0 and at least we would have had a chance. I would also like to see a healthy Altidore and Wood start a game or two.

    • Orozco did not kill us! He is not a first choice but give the current roster’s experience and skill level he is a good choice to fill in on the back line. And btw, he had a good game against Colombia. I don’t understand the haters.

      • I never said that Orozco killed us. I said that the three suspensions for the Argentina game killed us. Orozco did not even participate in that game.

    • Absolutely agree with the premise. However if the coach is making questionable decisions (Wondo, Beckerman = poster children for white middle/upper class suburban upbringings / club soccer culture) and unwilling to take risks in a game where you know going in there is a big chance you are going to get blown out (Argentina) or that it really doesn’t matter that much whether you take 3rd or 4th place, he isn’t helping move things forward a bit and just perpetuating the problem.

      Do I think having a different coach would automatically win us games? No. But the JK “status quo” approach isn’t going to either.

      • The poster child for white suburban soccer is Michael Bradley. The poster children for the national team should be Clint Dempsey and Jermaine Jones. Both have been successful professionals. And we have beaten Argentina before. The problem is that they are the best team in the world now and have someone who could be the best player of all time. Getting fourth in the Copa America is a big deal. We should be celebrating that fact. For some reason, we saying how much we suck. Look at Brazil. We were better than them at this tournament. They were terrible. Do they all the sudden not have the infrastructure? Not enough poor people play the sport? (these are rhetorical questions) Of course not. We can’t compare this to basketball or any other sport. Soccer is worldwide and there is always going to be ebbs and flows. Germany sucked for a long time. England sucked and still kind of sucks. Argentina had some crappy years. Look at what having Maradona as their coach did to them. Brazil has crappy years. Italy has had some crappy years. No one team is going to dominate all the time in the sport of soccer and I think that’s how we need to look at it.

      • Regarding the Klinsmann approach for Argentina, have the critics been watching the knockout games at the Euros? OMG, they make Klinsmann look like a reckless daredevil. All the teams are playing not to lose. The games are boring and often poor quality. Soccer is a results business. People care if you win or lose, not how well you play. That’s why the European teams are being so cautious. They are basically playing and waiting for the opponent to make a mistake and hope they don’t screw up before that happens. Our only chance vs. Argentina was to play cautiously and play them tight and hope they made a mistake we could capitalize on. We are not in their league. We are getting close to teams like Colombia, but we still have a long way to go before we can compete with a team full of international superstars like Argentina.

      • This is so American–the idea that massive and rapid change must be obtained or you are a failure. Significant change takes time. Especially when you have to change institutions, change usually can only be incremental. You have to change the culture as well. Looking at things on a game to game basis, or even a year to year basis is not helpful and may be self-destructive. You need to look over a longer period of time. This is true in many areas, not just sports. In this particular case, the only results that should be considered are qualifying for the 2014 World Cup, the World Cup itself, the 2 Gold Cups, and now the Copa America.

      • Gary

        If you’re arguing that klinsmann is just looking at the bigger picture then he just needs to be the technical director. His results on the field have been average at best and we actually have a worse record against top 10 teams in official competitions under klinsmann than we did under Sampson, Arena, and Bradley combined

      • No one is looking for “rapid change.” He’s been here five years and the team isn’t any better than when Bob was the manager. He’s failed.

      • Slow–what team who was in our position/quality level 5 years ago has improved a lot and maintained it? I can think of a number of teams that have gotten worse in that time. It takes more than 5 years to develop a pool of skilled players when you have been mostly playing a style of relying on athleticism and hard work. I think Klinsmann over promised or else didn’t realize how much had to be done. We still have a ways to go before we can field a team as skilled as the Latin teams in our hemisphere.

    • Was Landon Donovan not a middle-class product? Bradley? Cameron?

      You can’t diagnose the problem with soccer development with such a one-dimensional premise. It’s just one area we should focus on, not the only one.

  6. I hate south american teams. “Gamesmanship” is just code for “full grown men acting like babies on the field” these days. Falling down off the field, getting up, and then rolling back onto the field to fake an injury is just embarrassing, and should receive a yellow every time.

    I also think the ref was heavily favoring Columbia the entire game, especially James R. Giving 20 seconds of added time after a fake injury and two red cards in stoppage time is horrific, and ending the game on a US counter sums up the officiating of the whole game.

    I think tournaments should start bringing in truly impartial officials from a different region of the world. Getting Mexican refs or a ref from a country we already knocked out in the tournament is just asking for a lopsided game. Im not saying every ref isn’t impartial, but i would much rather have African or European or Asian or anyone but refs that are most likely also fans of other teams in the tournament.

    • Yes i amy be generalizing because not every south american player or team act like they got hit by a car everytime they are touched, but it seems like that is a bigger part of the game for south american players than anywhere else in the world. Europe seems to be hot on their heels though.

    • Not to be an a-hole but the Columbia River is the 7th largest river in the US and Colombia is the 3rd ranked futbol team located in South America

      • Then stop correcting people, its a message board not Mr. Twomilerule’s classroom. If someone is being a jerk and spelling it incorrectly to be offensive call them on it, otherwise let it go. I’m sure a lot of Colombians can’t spell Columbus, Ohio either.

      • No he can do what he wants. Don’t like it? Don’t read it. You are not the king of the universe. COLOMBIA. Say it with me now; COLOMBIA. Got it? Good.

      • Dj Twomile said he didn’t want to be an a hole I simply explained how not to be one. Its the same thing as correcting someone when they say Florence not Firenze or Turin not Torino. With a u is how it is pronounced and spelled in English with an o is how it is in Spanish. Should a Colombian be chastised for calling the US, Estados Unidos?

      • Nope. You got it wrong johnnyrazor. It’s spelled Colombia in English as well. There is no country called Columbia.

      • I was typing out of anger and did not proof read what i was typing. But since i am still angry, out of spite im gonna refer to Colombia as Columbia from here on.

      • I know how to spell Colombia what I was saying is there is no reason to blast people for spelling it incorrectly when Columbia is an English spelling like Columbia SC or Columbia jackets its reasonable if someone without a Spanish background would accidently misspell it. People don’t come here for grammar and spelling lessons and posting a comment to purely criticize it is a waste of everyone’s time.

      • There have been a lot of comments like that. I guess knowing how to spell Colombia makes these dudes feel really smart. We are duly impressed.

    • If it’s any consolation, I think the officiating was worse the last Copa in Chile. Chile had a player who dove more than Greg Louganis and he kept getting fouls called even when it was obvious he was faking.

  7. I really don’t understand people bashing Bradley after this game. He clearly wasn’t 100% after taking that knock in the first half. Zardes really changed my opinions of him this tournament, grew more confident with every game. I still don’t understand why we waited until the 70th minute to make any subs but though. Really should have tried to get pulisic and Nagbe more involved throughout the tournament

    • People have really short memories. Bradley has carried this team for much of the past six years. His play has taken a turn for the worse though since coming to MLS, which is unfortunate, but it would help if Jurgen would play him and those around him in their natural positions. The constant shoehorning into the ten role for the past several years has not helped him at all. Shocker.

      • Well apparently klinsmann can do no wrong and it’s always the players fault any time the team or said player have a bad game.

      • People have really short memories. Bradley has carried this team for much of the past six years.

        For the last two calendar years leading up to the World Cup 2014, he’s been a liability in the midfield more than he’s been anything close to being capable of carrying the team.

        Blame tactics. Blame moving to MLS. Blame who he’s playing next to, but if he had any other last name the calls for dropping him would be at a fever pitch. No one should be immune to being dropped if they aren’t performing.

        I have nothing but respect for Bradley and I’m not trying to proclaim he should be dropped but let’s be naive and look at his play through rose-tinted glasses referencing him carrying anything. Jermaine Jones is worthy of that distinction in the last 24 months…not Bradley.

      • Who do we have who is better? Playing Cameron in his spot might work, but Brooks Cameron seems our best CB combination. And if Jones retires and you don’t play Bradley, then you have a real hole there. We need to have Williams play well enough to make an impact, but Bradley still has a role to play IMO.

      • Columbia did not high-press as much as Argentina. Bradley dropped deep and had time and space to pass the ball. When pressured, he gives it up. When he has to mark tight and shut down a good player, he comes up short.
        He is a very good passer of the ball, but not a world-class player in other areas of his game.

      • tactics play a huge part of it including where players are deployed and the roles they are assigned. does it impact performances? of course it does, both positively and negatively depending

    • I can’t speak for others but my biggest problem regarding Bradley is the media constantly trying to portray him as our world class savior! He isn’t! He is competent, generally consistent, and one of the hardest working players we have. Overall his passing is acceptable, but like the old saying that in the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king, that isn’t saying much. My personal belief is that MB is totally lost when we try to play a quick passing possession game. Also he has never been known as a hard tackler and when our defense requires a little bite he is AWOL. The old excuse of him being played out of position is bogus, particularly during this Copa because in all but one game he was in his “preferred” position. As the passing skills of the rest of the team continues to improve, I’m afraid MB will need to be relegated to a backup role. Both Cameron and Brooks are already better passers along with Wood, Zardes, Bedoya,and JJ. I don’t include Nagbe or Pulisic only because they are still newbies. Maybe if the expectations are lowered a bit, MB can find his spot.

      • Bradley might be more confident and comfortable on the ball if he had another midfielder he could work with. Jones and Bedoya are not good on the ball or in tight spaces. However, the one thing i noticed in this tournament was Bradley’s lack of vision when moving the ball. Often he receives the ball and plays the safe pass when a channel is open with a player running into that space. I’m not talking about playing a back pass but receiving the ball with his head on a swivel. Then changing the angle is a quick pass or dribble forward.

      • I honestly don’t know how to politely reply to your comment that Bedoya and Jones aren’t good on the ball, certainly as compared to Bradley. You are either blind, a troll, or deliberately avoid watching midfield play! If for a minute we avoid using our personal observations and look at the fact that Bedoya is currently enjoying a highly successful career in Europe and Jones did likewise before coming to MLS, it should be obvious that they had to have reasonably good passing skills to succeed. Recognizing that Bradley did have some good years in Italy, he was struggling to get playing time before returning to MLS and once back it’s generally recognized that he has regressed. If Bradley was so much better than Bedoya and Jones why did we tank when they were absent?

      • Bradley might be more confident and comfortable on the ball if he had another midfielder he could work with.

        …at what point do people stop blaming everyone else and start acknowledging the common denominator?

        I hate feeling like I’m railing on Bradley because I like him but the amount of apologists regarding what our eyes see is alarming.

    • Bradley hasn’t been the same since his surgery and coming back to MLS. No matter where he lines up, his passing efficiency has gone down…and those awesome long diagonal balls he used to drop on a dime just aren’t there.. Probably needs some rest followed by a loan back to Serie A

      • hey Bac, been a while. how many teams you coaching right now?

        anyway, thought the USMNT played hard like always, committed a lot of players forward in the 2nd half to chase the game which made it open and exciting (like vs. Slovenia in 2010 for example), had chances because of it as did Colombia

        Great tournament at home, US fans deserve credit…Seattle, Chicago, Philly

  8. Overall the team performed well tonight and did OK for the tournament in general. There are still a couple area’s where we need to make improvements…..
    1) JK’s substitutions need to be better. He kept back subs to late in the game for them to be able to really make a difference in most cases.
    2) Player selections are still an issue…..Orozco, Wondo, & Beckerman proved (again) that they don’t belong at this level.
    3) We still play scared too often. We have decent players….we shouldn’t be bunkering as often as we did during this tournament.
    4) Players need to be smarter about retaliation. Yedlin, Jones, Orozco, Wood, & Bedoya all were punished during the tournament for stupid retaliation fouls. Each hurt the team with their crap.

    • Depth will always be a problem. We just don’t have the guys to replace the loss of Bedoya, Jones and Wood in the Argentina game. Danny Williams should replace Beckerman. I’m worried at how long Jermaine Jones and Dempsey can play at this level at their age.

  9. Bradley lacked his tracking and marking attributes. TFC is killing our NT players…he sooo should have been subbed off sooner.
    If Guzan was between the sticks this would have been a 2+ goal game
    Jermaine Jones is simply the best DM/CM we have (at 34).
    Geoff Cameron wow…. the way he was overlapping, getting by players and making good passes I think he should be looked at in Midfield (especially with Miazga and Gonzalez around).
    Zardes Played his heart out but needs confidence to get a shot off in front of goal (be selfish sometimes)
    Wood missed chance after chance. Trying to do too much in the box

    At least we leave this tournament with our heads high (if you are disappointed with your team after playing a team like Colombia then you did ok)

    • Agree on everything except the idea of Gonzalez replacing Cameron in the back. Gonzalez doesn’t have confidence on the ball at the international level, so that would turn a positive into a negative. We need all the help we can get with possession from the back line, and that’s a big part of the value of having Cameron (and Brooks) back there.

      Regarding Guzan – if he had been Columbia’s keeper, would Dempsey have had 1 or 2 goals from those 2 free kicks of his?

      • Looks like Birnbuam is already ahead of Gonzo. I just wish there was some competition at LB, the plague or virus that the USMNT cannot kick

      • That coach at Pachuca must be really stupid. Just about every week he played Gonzalez for 90 minutes, even including the playoffs and the championship game they won.

    • Good call bizzy.. You want a Striker to be selfish and wanna score so bad he’s in his own universe..with another year under him he’ll be better at those split second decisions… while Zardes needs to be more selfish at times.. But I gotta say, that knock on his first touch? I was impressed how much he improved over 8 games..and his work rate is awesome.

  10. U.S. had many chances to win. They were on the front foot for most of the first half, by were woeful in the attacking third especially in the second half. Winnable game just no urgency near the goal.

    • It’s not lack of urgency, it’s skill and experience. Give Wood and Zardes a little more experience and those delays, hesitations and miscues should be gone. I was really impressed by the improvement in Zardes touch during this tournament.

  11. I noticed that things opened up when Nagbe came in. My other observation is that Wood is very good and Zardes works hard but does not seem to have the confidence when there is a shot opportunity. I agree that this is the end of the Bradley era. They did better than against Argentina but one always had the sense that Colombia was going to survive this one. This was a typical third place game where once a team gets the lead they play sort of casually and the other team will wait until the end to really press matters. This was more like a friendly with high energy in the beginning and the end.

    • Zardes has shown great improvements in his touch, his passing, and his midfield interplay. However, he definitely freezes up in the box! Hopefully experience will help.

    • Look, as a USSF coach, I will disagree with you.

      Bradley played a pretty good game. I was impressed by how well the USA covered without him…but then, all we really did was, we slid Jermaine Jones – who is another Underappreciated Creature – into Bradley’s spot. Nagbe then surged forward…alas, to no great effect. Nagbe may be a great player one day. He was also a step slow in thought and action tonight…as he has been, largely all tournament. You can see the technical quality; Nagbe is not “dialed up” the way the truly top guys – Dempsey, Wood, Bedoya, Bradley, Jones, Brooks, Johnson, Cameron, Yedlin – are. He can get there, he just isn’t…right now.

      Pulisic looks like a 17-year-old who’s ridiculously dialed-up because of his level. Prodigy, yes. But he’s also 17. Wake me up in a couple of years if he’s still hanging. Chances are very good we’ll all barely remember his name. Or that 1-out-of-100 hits and he’ll be running the team. So it goes, with Child Prodigies. Guys: at age 17, Jozy Altidore was scoring a lot more goals for both club and country, and was busy being sold to Spain. Juan Agudelo wasn’t far off that.

      I honestly think the 3 best national teams in the world – Argentina, Chile, Colombia – were at this tournament, and we played 3 games against them. We missed Chile; Mexico got that game, and we saw how that went. But those teams are on a different level than anybody else right now…and by the end, we were right there with a full-strength Colombia squad.

      Progress is often painful and incremental, but when you challenge a Colombia team like that to the very last kick, you’ve played a durn good game of soccer. And you’re improving. Those guys are SO far ahead of Mexico it’s not funny.

      May we play tournaments like that every year. THAT is how you get to be a contender for the World Cup.

      • Nagbe slow all tournament? Are you counting all that time he was on the bench?

        He played a total of 21 minutes or a little less than 4% of the time. Half of that was in a game (Argentina) which was already long gone by the time he got in.

        I will agree he wasn’t effective tonight (his second appearance in the tournament) but the last 15 minutes plus stoppage were not much soccer being played at all.

        Comparing him to players who played hundreds of minutes is silly. He got about 3 touches in this game. He had 6 in his 10 minutes against Argentina and went 6 for 6 on passes.

        Nagbe gets an incomplete for this tourney.

      • Oops, my bad. I didn’t count the 24 minutes he played in the opening loss to Colombia also. So he played 8% of the total tourney, almost all as a very late sub. I thought he and Pulisic did some good things together in the first Colombia game.

      • Q is right about Nagbe. We desperately need his skill set, but that doesn’t mean he’s ready to take us to the next level. His intensity is not quite there yet. Just because he didn’t get a lot of minutes isn’t a reason or excuse… it just is what it is. Red cards and circumstances changed how we had to play. It’s too bad he couldn’t get more time…but he needs to take the urgency and intensity up a notch and then he’ll be ready.
        An example? 2-3 years ago Zusi was the one taking LDs spot, and Bedoya was off the bench at the Gold Cup… but they were basically the same guy…Compare Ales career path vs Zusi.. there’s now a significant difference separating them.

      • Good measured analysis. I thought we played adequately, missed some chances. You could tell the guys wanted to bring it to Colombia.

        I’d like to see what you thought of the Argentina game though. Surely you don’t think Bradley (or anyone really) played well for that disaster. We did a little better than Mexico did vs. Chile but that’s saying very little.

      • I’m torn on Nagbe and his showing this tourney. On one hand you would like for to have had more of a presence or impact but on the other hand he seemed to be put in unattractive situations. To me, he wasn’t given much time to show his skill set due to being subbed so late into games. I would have thought JK would have wanted to show him more for a possible bigger club transfer but not the case obviously. We didn’t take any chances which was a letdown, continued to play it safe throughout the competition but I’m hopeful that will change going forward. Is it likely that weve seen the last of Beckerman, Zusi, Orozco and Rondo?? I don’t think the program can move forward if we don’t start bleeding more of the youth into this team immediately.

      • My complaints with MB are that he never fouls and that his passing is very un creative! Yes! He periodically comes up with nice through passes but when it comes to being a creative cog in the midfield possession game, he is a liability. Also when our defense requires some bite he is absent! BTW. You are more than likely a great guy and very knowledgeable in soccer but embroidering your comment with the “USSF soccer coach” reference is a red flag to me. I hold the entire USSF organization and particularly its coaches as a major reason for the failure of US soccer to develop. Sorry!

      • Marquez is 37 and is still an important member of El Tri, Klose was 36 at the last WC and was still scoring goals. Not saying Clint was ever Klose, but he can still be productive in Russia if things go his way.

  12. In spite of the result, I saw a lot of positives tonite. We played on the same level as Colombia technically, tactically and physically. This was a good bounce-back game and we created many good chances. I’m not sure why JB and FJ didn’t play, but that would have been a huge help on the left side. Orozco was the only player that I thought struggled.

    Glad that JK pulled the trigger on subbing Bradley out. He played well, but was clearly gassed. Didn’t think Pulisic had a huge impact, but I’m glad he got quality minutes out there.

    Over the course of the tournament, there were lots of bright spots, such as Brooks, Cameron, Wood, Zardes and Yedlin. Dempsey was a beast as was Jones. Makes you wonder if they have enough to be starters for another two years.

    And maybe the best development is that JK finally found a reliable starting 11 and actually stayed with them game after game. Who knew that could actually work…?

    • Horse shoes and hand grenades, but the US could have very well tied or won that match, too.

      After reading the SBI forum after the Argentina match, it appears we have many that are big on moral victories. I guess having several chances to tie or beat the #3 team in the world checks that box for that same demographic.

      …unless of course their standards have conveniently changed, as they usually do.

      • Well, the fact is that while Colombia is a superior team with superior players, the gap is not all that big. If someone had told people that the US would win its group and, in the process, beat Costa Rica 4-0, win a knockout game before losing to Argentina in the semifinals and hold our own in the 3rd place game and lose only 1-0, how many would have said, That’s not good enough.”?As i wrote about 4 days ago, I think a realistic appraisal of the US is that we are somewhere in the 18 to 20 range in world rankings and maybe we can get up to around 12 or so in the next 4 or 5 years., In short, this game was a good representation of where we are: not yet at Colombia’s level, but not all that far away.

      • Colombia are a good side and are better than the US. That said, I know FIFA rankings (which are worthless) have them as #3 but they are nowhere near the third best side in the world. Better than France, Germany, Spain, Chile? No way.

      • Elo has Colombia at 7th which I think is probably more accurate. 9 of their 14 players that played the other night are 25 or under, so they are set for years to come. I don’t think Pekerman uses them very well, they play very passive and almost lull themselves to sleep at times.

        Colombia will probably end up around 7th in the next FIFA rankings assuming Spain doesn’t go out early, they have a buffer of Brazil, Uruguay, and Austria bombing out of their tournaments that should keep them from falling all the way out of the top 10. They only had 2 wins against US and 1 with Paraguay in the Copa, as the game with Peru goes officially as a draw I believe. France would need to win the whole thing to have much of chance of passing them, I would think and Spain might have to beat Germany after their loss to Croatia.

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