At halftime: Colombia, Ivory Coast threaten, lack finish — FOLLOW LIVE

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An electric pro-Colombian crowd at the Estádio Nacional Mané Garrincha in Brasília got quite an early show from its heroes, but the final ball went missing as Colombia and Ivory Coast tangled for Group C supremacy.

It’s scoreless at the break, with Les Elephants taking it to Colombia late but also unable to find a marker. It’s a promising game, but Didier Drogba’s potential arrival looms over the proceedings.

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Goals (and how they happened):

None.

Other key moments:

20′ – Colombia controlled the match early, with possession and danger mixed in amongst moments of individual brilliance. It wasn’t until the final 8-10 minutes that the Ivory Coast found its offensive footing.

28′ – A brilliant ball from Cuadrado was flubbed off the front of Teo Gutierrez’s foot, who was already celebrating when he realized he had murdered the prime scoring chance.

32′ – Aurier’s slick stepover created space about 12 yards out from goal, but his low shot was corralled by Ospina. It was arguably the Ivory Coast’s best chance of the half.

LINEUPS:

Ivory Coast –  Barry; Aurier, Bamba, Boka, Zokora; Tiote, Yaya Toure, Die, Gradel; Gervinho, Wilfried Bony

Colombia -Ospina; Armero, Zapata, Yepes (c), Zúñiga; Aguilar, Sánchez, James, Cuadrado, Ibarbo; Teo.

Question for the second half:

  • Will Didier save the day? – Ivory Coast coach Sabri Lamouchi says Drogba knows his role and accepts it, but Les Elephants need every bit of danger against Colombia.
  • Can Colombia find the final ball via wing play? Los Cafeteros are roaring down the flanks, but haven’t found the finish. Will they come more through the middle or keep up the plan?

AT HALF: Lletget, Bradley, Dempsey spur USMNT to 3-0 lead

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The United States men’s national team’s bid to recover their 2018 World Cup hopes is off to a flying start.

As it stands, the 3-0 halftime lead provided by Sebastian Lletget, Michael Bradley, and Clint Dempsey has the Yanks up from sixth to fourth in the Hex table.

Sebastian Lletget scored a fifth minute goal to ease the tensions of the Avaya Stadium crowd in San Jose, though he’d leave the match with injury before the match was 20 minutes old.

Sloppy Honduran defending caused a turnover outside the 18, and Jozy Altidore played Christian Pulisic in on goal.

[ LIVE – Play-by-play via @USSoccer ]

Keeper Donis Escober got a piece of Pulisic’s shot, but no one followed Lletget to the back post and the ex-West Ham and current LA Galaxy man quickly put the Yanks up 1-0.

Then it was the captain who doubled the lead, as Honduras inexplicably gave him the room to walk across the arc of the 18 to rip a shot across goal. 2-0.

It was Clint Dempsey’s turn in the 33rd minute, after an otherworldly scooped pass from Pulisic.

What. A. Pass. Kid.

LINEUP

USMNT: Howard; Villafana, Gonzalez, Brooks, Cameron; Bradley, Lletget (Bedoya, 18′), Nagbe; Pulisic, Dempsey, Altidore.

Goals: Lletget (5′), Bradley (27′), Dempsey (33′)

LIVE – USMNT looks to right ship vs. Honduras

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The United States starts to make amends for its 0-2 start to the final round of World Cup qualifying with a match against Honduras on Friday in San Jose.

Losses to Mexico and Costa Rica cost Jurgen Klinsmann his job and Bruce Arena will try things differently

[ LIVE – Play-by-play via @USSoccer ]

Most importantly for Arena, Geoff Cameron and Tim Howard are available this time around.

Cameron starts at right back, with John Brooks and Omar Gonzalez in the center of the back four. Jorge Villafana slots into the mix at left back.

Captain Michael Bradley will sit atop the midfield, with Darlington Nagbe, Sebastian Lletget, and Christian Pulisic in the midfield.

Clint Dempsey and Jozy Altidore are the forwards. Kickoff is set for 10:55 p.m. EDT from Avaya Stadium.

Minnesota’s Molino lifts Trinidad and Tobago to big win (video)

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Minnesota United attacker Kevin Molino has given Trinidad and Tobago life in the race to win a spot at the 2018 World Cup.

Molino’s 37th minute goal gave hosts T&T a 1-0 lead against visiting Panama at Hasely Crawford Stadium in Port of Spain on Friday, and the Soca Warriors held on to win its first points of qualifying.

Panama had a Luis Tejada goal controversially ruled offside as Los Canaleros nearly pulled their fifth point of the Hex. Panama faces the USMNT on Tuesday in Panama City.

[ WATCH: Zaha scores wonder vs. Russia ]

Molino fooled long time LA Galaxy goalkeeper Jaime Penedo with a low shot across the body. The Panama backstop couldn’t get low enough or far enough with his dive to stop the shot.

The win has T&T in fifth place on the Hex table, behind Honduras on goal differential and three points ahead of the last place USMNT.

The U.S. needs a two-goal win to pass T&T, and a three-goal win to climb above Honduras.

WATCH: Zaha drives Russia nuts with mazy dribble goal

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Wilfried Zaha combined balance, deft touch, and breakneck speed to score his first international goal for the Ivory Coast.

With his side leading Russia 1-0 on Friday, the Crystal Palace winger worked his way through four defenders before burying his shot.

[ MORE: Smalling hurt, Gibson called up ]

Zaha especially fooled with Ilya Kutepov, a harsh cut nearly tipping both to the field.

He’s just 24, and it seems much longer ago that he made his failed move to Manchester United in 2013.

Failed may be a rough verb considering it all contributed to making him the player he is for Crystal Palace and Ivory Coast today.