There is a theme developing under US Men’s National Team manager Jurgen Klinsmann, and it’s a disturbing one — his team can’t finish off a game in the second half. While taking on world-class Colombia at the famed Craven Cottage in London, England on Friday, said theme reared its ugly head once again.
After Colombia was penalized for a handball in the box, USMNT striker Jozy Altidore slotted home the opening goal from the penalty spot in the 10th minute. However, that 1-0 lead wasn’t going to be enough, and from then on it was all Colombia.
The South American side dominated possession, had the better attacking chances and was patient in the attack. Colombia had the better of the chances, and stuck with it until it ultimately paid off in the 60th minute courtesy of Carlos Bacca and some controversial officiating.
It appeared via replay that Colombia had a player well offside who also made a move to interfere with the play and thus was no longer passively offside. Yet, the score was just 1-1, and would’ve been a just result for the efforts in the first half.
The Colombian’s were buoyed by that goal, and continued to attack the United State’s defense throughout the rest of the game. It paid off in a brilliant piece of work that ended with an easy header from the top of the six-yard box for a 2-1 lead in the 87th minute of the match.
There was little in the way of offense from the United States in the second half, and it showed in the final stat line of the night. Colombia fired of 21 shots (nine on goal) to the USMNT’s nine total shots (five on net). However, taking much away from the overall result in a friendly isn’t the important part. What is and was in this case is finding out what you have and how you can use that going forward in to a new World Cup cycle. We saw important pieces for the future play well, as Alejandro Bedoya, Rubio Rubin and Greg Garza all looked good. Rubin in particular made a splash up front next to Altidore, showing great effort and putting a lot of pressure on the Colombian back line in the first part of the first half.
Hard for US fans not to be excited about Rubio Rubín and Greg Garza right now. Real promise. — Grant Wahl (@GrantWahl) November 14, 2014
Yet, it was other youthful players that didn’t show up when needed — especially Mix Diskerud and DeAndre Yedlin. Those two had concerning performances, as both are going to need to be key cogs in what the USMNT will be going forward.
Diskerud is looked at to be the guy to replace Jermaine Jones’ effort and ability to connect between defense and attack, and that was sorely missing in this game. Sure, some of the credit has to go to the play of the Colombian midfield. After all, they did put the United States midfield on the back foot most of the game. Yet, Diskerud had opportunities to affect the game in a positive direction, only to give the ball away quickly.
The same could have been said of Yedlin, who was rather ineffective going forward from the right side of defense, err was it midfield…we couldn’t tell because he wasn’t doing much. Then again, some in England apparently saw a very different game then USMNT fans did:
Tottenham’s DeAndre Yedlin has done himself plenty of favours with his performance tonight. Moved from right back to right mid.
— Sam Cunningham (@samcunningham) November 14, 2014
Even Jermaine Jones had his moments of great play at his new position of center back. While it wasn’t perfect from him, Jones showed he is becoming a quick learner and physically has plenty left to offer at the position. As long as the mental side clicks quickly, he’ll be just fine.
With the United States having a game on Tuesday, it will be important to watch which players take Friday’s game and learn from it. It also will be important to start gaining some confidence, as Ireland are no where near the level of Colombia (just watch the replay of Ireland vs. Scotland on watchESPN if you don’t believe us).