In front of an overwhelmingly pro-Colombia crowd in Tampa, Florida, a naive but game United States team fell to the Colombians 4-2 at Raymond James Stadium on Thursday night. With a trio of exciting young Americans absent due to injury, interim U.S. head coach Dave Sarachan turned back to veteran Michael Bradley in midfield, but the Americans were ultimately outclassed by the superior opposition.
The American attack awoke after halftime, with a switch of sides by Tim Weah and Kenny Saief playing a significant role in the change of fortunes. Showing off the sort of aggressive, at-pace movement that was a hallmark of previous versions of the USMNT, the home team hit Colombia for two goals in three minutes.
Despite the two goals, a disastrous night on the defensive end will stand out as the defining feature of the loss. The Americans did not communicate well, regularly left massive gaps for the Cafeteros to exploit, and were otherwise complicit in giving their opponents good looks on goal. A decided lack of awareness and a lack of a true ball-winner in midfield led to numerous excellent chances for Colombia.
Manager rating out of 10
5 -- Sarachan will take plenty of heat for starting 31-year-old Bradley, though the overall tactical plan seemed sound from the start. The high line played by the United States abetted Colombia's attack. The swap of Tim Weah to the left side ahead of halftime is a plus in Sarachan's column, thought the nature of the loss takes any shine off the coach's choices on a night when his team was outclassed.
Player ratings (1-10; 10=best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK Zack Steffen, 5 -- Made a pair of solid saves in the first half and cut out a Colombia chance by coming off the line. Made poor decisions in the second half and was complicit on the last goal.
DF Antonee Robinson, 3 -- Decidedly poor night, especially in defense. Positioning best termed "chaotic." Repeatedly caught out of position, leaving the Americans exposed by Colombian attackers. Played the cross that led to the opening U.S. goal.
DF Matt Miazga, 4 -- Looked unsettled dealing with Colombia's many weapons for most of the night. Out of sync with John Brooks when defending against waves of attack. Caught ball-watching on Carlos Bacca's goal.
DF John Brooks, 4 -- No better than his partner in central defense. Unable to keep attackers in front of him on numerous occasions. Slow to step out on James Rodriguez at the edge of the box before the Bayern midfielder scored the first Colombia goal.
DF DeAndre Yedlin, 4 -- Covered the flank, but to questionable effect. Seemed lost defensively most of the evening. Played a single dangerous cross when pushed up into the American attack.
MF Michael Bradley, 4 -- Competent, but not quick enough to do much to slow down Colombia. Missed just a handful of passes on a night when most were horizontal. Burned by Radamel Falcao on Colombia's third goal, a particularly poor moment.
MF Kellyn Acosta, 5 -- Opened the scoring for the U.S. with an excellent late run from midfield. Showed too much respect to Colombia rather than stepping to the ball in midfield. Mediocre passing the ball.
MF Kenny Saief, 4 -- Added nothing defensively as Colombia ravaged the USMNT's left side for the majority of the first half. Switched to the right side where he was largely anonymous. Set piece service was poor.
MF Julian Green, 5 -- Created the second American goal with a recovery in the American half that sprung the counterattack. Played too deep to be effective as a creative threat. Too often looked for the safe pass.
MF Tim Weah, 6 -- Pinned by the Colombian attack for much of the first half, especially when deployed on the right side. Improved when switched to the left. Played a perfect ball to Wood for the second American goal on a well-run counterattack.
FW Bobby Wood, 5 -- Passable with holdup play and never stopped working to win the ball. Made the long run to get on the end of Weah's pass for the second U.S. goal and finished well. Isolated by the Americans' inability to build into the attack.
MF Fafa Picault, 5 -- Made his presence felt in a little more than half an hour. Showed a propensity for smart runs and nearly created a chance with a knockdown header in the 77th minute.
MF Marky Delgado, NR -- Moved the ball well and had two recoveries in 20-plus minutes.
DF Ben Sweat, NR -- Caught upfield on Colombia's final goal.
FW Josh Sargent, NR -- Showed a bit of his potential with a smart run and a pullback pass in the 90th minute.
FW Andrija Novakovich, NR -- Made a single pass and had one run that resulted in a foul at midfield.