Young Americans fall 1-0 to Colombia, finish last in Copa América.
U.S. reserves fall short, lose to Colombia in Copa América finale.
(Friday, July 6, 2007) -- The United States men finished its Copa América involvement with yet another loss, 1-0 to Colombia, another entrant on its way home.
Both nations were eliminated from advancement to the quarterfinals in the 12-team event a day before they stepped on the field at Estadio Metropolitano FdL in Barquisimeto, Venezuela. The meaning of the game was simple: the loser would finish last in the prestigious tournament.
Playing for pride, neither team looked particularly dangerous or capable, but it was Colombia that put out the superior effort. The statistics were telling: the two teams combined for 13 shots. Colombia, with a 7-6 advantage, put only three on frame to one by the Americans.
U.S goalkeeper Brad Guzan made two saves, one of then to turn away Hugo Rodallega's penalty kick in the 35th minute after Guzan had taken the Colombian down in the box. Colombia keeper Robinson Zapata made one save, but was not around for the end after he was given a second yellow card and sent off for time-wasting in the 87th minute.
With its full complement of substitutes used, Colombia was down to 10 men and had a striker, Rodallega, in goal, but the Americans could not capitalize, failing to manage a shot in the five minutes remaining once play resumed.
U.S. coach Bob Bradley cleared his bench tonight, leaving defenders Jay DeMerit, Jimmy Conrad and Jonathan Bornstein, midfielders Benny Feilhaber and Ben Olsen, and keeper Kasey Keller sitting. Resultantly, the Americans looked disorganized in the first half, especially in the midfield.
After Eddie Gaven was inserted into the midfield at halftime, the U.S. switched from a 4-4-2 to a 4-5-1 and, with only Eddie Johnson on top, the Americans' play picked up considerably. They looked dangerous over the last 15 minutes or so, and actually put a ball in the net, but the apparent equalizer was correctly disallowed because midfielder Kyle Beckerman was standing several feet offside when he drive a deflected ball home from point-blank range. .
The U.S. was strong in the central defense. Dan Califf and Bobby Boswell probably were not as effective as DeMerit and Conrad had been earlier in this tourney, but overall they did not do badly.
The U.S. leaves Venezuela with an 0-3 record, having been outscored 8-2. With a few exceptions, the players the U.S. Soccer Federation sent to Copa América demonstrated they are not ready to compete at this level. That was clear tonight.
U.S. player ratings
Goalkeeper Brad Guzan - 5.5: Gave away a penalty kick with an unnecessary foul in his box, but then saved the weak effort by Hugo Rodallega. Otherwise was not put under much pressure.
Defender Drew Moor - 4.5: Continues to be a step slow and lost Jaime Castrillón, on Colombia's goal. Had some good moments, but was inconsistent at best.
Defender Bobby Boswell - 5.5: Made a few mistakes early, but overall did not do badly, ranging far into the midfield to make defensive plays.
Defender Dan Califf - 5.5: Held his ground well and was rarely beaten. One of the better U.S. players on the night.
Defender Heath Pearce - 4.5: Has said if given a chance he would prove he is the left back the U.S. has been searching for. Tonight he got that chance and didn't prove it.
Midfielder Sacha Kljestan - 4.5: He went the full 90 minute, but was an invisible player, contributing little until late in the second half.
Midfielder Kyle Beckerman - 4.5: After a lackluster performance, he had a chance to redeem himself but was either too lazy or oblivious to get into an on-side position when he scored a disallowed equalizer.
Midfielder Ricardo Clark - 4.5: Maybe all the matches he has played recently caught up with him, because his work rate was down and he did not contribute much.
Midfielder Justin Mapp - 5.5: The best U.S. starter, picked up his game in the second half and worked well with Gaven.
Forward Eddie Johnson - 5: Worked hard, but accomplished little. Was tightly marked, but in those situations he must do better but, then again, he received little support.
Forward Herculez Gomez - 4.5: He was marked out of the match and contributed little.
Midfielder Eddie Gaven (46th minute for Gomez) 5.5: Added life to the U.S. in the second half and had some very good touches. Probably should have started.
Forward Charlie Davies (64th minute for Mapp) - 5.5: Had some good moments with his fresh legs against a tiring defense. Still a raw talent, he is but one to watch for the future.
Midfielder Lee Nguyen (72nd minute for Johnson) - 5.5: Worked hard after he came in, but to little effect. Did race back into the box to block a shot, probably saving a goal.
SoccerTimes U.S. Player of the Match: Eddie Gaven.
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