Camilo Vargas

Player ratings: Jozy Altidore, Kyle Beckerman impress in USMNT’s 2-1 loss to Colombia

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The US national team continued a disturbing trend of conceding late goals (nine in nine games after the 80th minute) in a 2-1 defeat at the hands of current FIFA No. 3-ranked Colombia on Friday (highlights above). A handful of players showed well for 45 minutes, and then fell off.

This is how I rated the 16 players who saw the field.

Starters:

Brad Guzan, GK — 6.0: While not heavily tested in the first half, Guzan calmly guided a center back pairing featuring a learning-on-the-job convert and a 21-year-old with seven total caps to a 45-minute shutout. The defense looked solid in the first half, and then the second half happened, for which Guzan was largely not at fault.

DeAndre Yedlin, RB — 5.5 : Oh yeah, Yedlin played in this game. Relatively quiet — meaning few moments where he looked lost defensively — which is usually a good thing for a 21-year old, though the bulk of Colombia’s attack came down the USMNT’s left.

[WATCH: Jozy Altidore’s first-half goal ]

Jermaine Jones, CM masquerading at CB — 5.0 : He was fine for 45 minutes without much to do, but was massively out of position for Colombia’s first goal and more than a full second late seeing and closing down the run that led to the game-winner. Once he got there, he did well to block the initial cross, but it was pretty much over the second Edwin Cardona took his first touch that close to the 6-yard box. Can you really blame Jones, though? He’s not a center back. Him playing there rests at the feet of someone else.

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John Brooks, vs. Colombia — Getty Images

John Brooks, CB — 6.5 : At fault for neither of the goals and a 17-time winner of the ball in this one, Brooks gave maybe his best full-game performance of his short USMNT career.

Greg Garza, LB — 5.5 : After three promising outings in a row, he finally had a bit of a stinker in this one. Not entirely his fault as Johnson, the winger ahead of him, was a train wreck and left him with lots of 1-v-2 defending in space against a superbly talented Colombian counter-attack. Garza is still only an OK defender, but very good going forward.

Kyle Beckerman, CM — 7.5: His left-footed chipped ball onto the head of Rubin in the 37th minute was a thing of beauty. An inch or two lower, Rubin gets his head on it and scores. Beckerman operates so comfortably on every level of the midfield and could very well make the 2018 World Cup team at age 36.

[ RELATED: Three things learned from USA vs. Colombia at Craven Cottage ]

Mix Diskerud, CM — 5.0: First things first, we’re halfway through the month and that mustache gets a 10/10. By Dec. 1, it might be worthy of a Ballon d’Or nomination. Otherwise, Diskerud struggled on Friday, losing the ball time and again, and watching opponents dribble by as if he wasn’t there.

Alejandro Bedoya, RW — 6.5: Bedoya’s set-piece and open-play service was maybe the best he’s ever shown for the USMNT. Rubin’s second should-have-scored moment came in the 47th minute when Bedoya clipped a perfectly weighted ball to the Colombian back post and Rubin headed inches wide.

Fabian Johnson, LW — 4.5: As the right back, Johnson was superb — perhaps the USMNT’s best player — at the World Cup. As a winger on Friday, he was anything but. His number one job had to be to pin back Juan Cuadrado and Santiago Arias, Colombia’s right midfielder and right back, respectively. He didn’t do that, and he gave the ball away continuously.

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Rubio Rubin, vs. Colombia — Getty Images

Rubio Rubin, FW — 5.5: Should have scored once — maybe twice — which certainly hurts his overall marks, but was dangerous on too many occasions to simply write off this 18-year-old making his senior-team debut. The FC Utrecht youngster combined very well with Altidore, who holds the ball up and drags defenders across the backline. Rubin showed a great understanding of how to fill those vacated spaces created by Altidore. He’s still got a long way to go, but early signs look good.

Jozy Altidore, FW — 7.0: Scoring a goal doesn’t automatically equate a “good performance” for a forward, in my mind — there’s so many other facets to the position: holding the ball up, linking play and running the channels — but in Altidore’s case, anytime he scores it’s big news, even if it’s and extremely nervy penalty kick. Outside of the goal, he was a beast for the Colombian defenders to deal with. He earned himself a look from some forward-starved teams in Europe.

Subs:

Bobby Wood — 5.0: Had the USMNT’s best chance of the second half, but was turned away by Camilo Vargas, one-on-one with the Colombian goalkeeper. It was the kind of chance a young forward hoping to continue earning future call-ups has to finish, and he didn’t.

Alfredo Morales — N/A: Not enough action to rate.

DaMarcus Beasley — N/A: Not enough action to rate.

Lee Nguyen — 6.0: He was the only reason to get excited for this game, so we’re going to critique his cameo and cry out for more USMNT minutes, and soon, regardless. Had one moment of involvement in attacking buildup, and made the most of it. This clever backheel flick created Wood’s 1-v-1 chance. Three players in the USMNT player pool try and frequently enough pull off that move: Diskerud, Clint Dempsey and Nguyen. We’ll see you in January camp, Lee, where you’ll have a chance to earn a first-team starting spot.

Julian Green — N/A: Not enough action to rate.

USA 1-2 Colombia: Battling Americans can’t halt Colombian comeback

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LONDON — The U.S. national team lost 2-1 to No.3-ranked Colombia at Craven Cottage on Friday, as Jozy Altidore’s early goal was cancelled out by Carlos Bacca and a late winner from Teofilo “Teo” Gutierrez.

For most of the game the U.S. were pinned back by Colombia but in the ninth minute they went ahead through Altidore’s spot kick, his 25th goal for the Stars and Stripes. Bacca, James Rodgiuez and Teo all went close for Los Cafeteros but the South Americans didn’t draw level until the 60th minute, and they did so in controversial fashion.

[ RELATED: Three things we learned ]

James jinxed his way through on the edge of the box and played a play towards Teo who was in an offside position. Despite not touching the ball, he stood still and Bacca arrived to take the ball around Guzan and slot home into an empty net. Late on substitute Bobby Wood forced Vargas into a great save at the other end but then came the winner as Teo headed home at the back post after severe pressure from the South Americans.

[ RELATED: Player ratings for USA ]

Early on James got on the ball as much as possible and linked up with Carlos Sanchez in the sixth minute but the Aston Villa man sent his shot straight at Brad Guzan. The U.S. went ahead in the after a corner from the right was flicked back into the danger area by Jermaine Jones and as Rubio Rubin arrived to challenge Pablo Armero, Colombia’s left back flick his hand into the air and knocked the ball away. Referee Szymon Marciniak pointed to the spot despite appeals by Colombia’s players of a foul by Rubin and the USMNT skipper scored the spot kick despite Camilo Vargas guessing the right way. 1-0 to the USA.

[ RELATED: Latest USMNT news ]

The partisan crowd weren’t deterred and neither were their heroes as James whipped in a delicious cross from the right which Carlos Bacca headed over as the South Americans looked to get back on level terms. In the 15th minute Altidore almost scored his and the USA’s second as he nodded Alejandro Bedoya’s free kick towards goal but Abel Aguilar cleared the ball.

source: Getty Images
Klinsmann watches on as the USA give up another lead.

Midway through the first half Colombia almost got their equalizer as James’ wicked low free kick skipped just past Guzan’s post, then Bacca had a thumping effort deflected wide. Colombia came so close to making it 1-1 in the 33rd minute as Teo teed up Bacca after a bad giveaway from Fabian Johnson but Bacca clipped the post with his effort as Colombia pushed hard for an equalizer before the interval. Soon after Jones looked to have blocked Bacca’s shot with his hand in the box but Colombia’s appeals were waved away as the USA went in ahead at the half.

[ RELATED: USA collapse in second half, again ]

A minute into the second half debutant Rubin came so close to his starting his U.S. career in style. A great ball from Bedoya on the left found the FC Utrecht forward at the back post but his brave diving header went just wide. In the second half Yedlin and Johnson switched positions on the right flank as the Seattle Sounders youngster, who is on his way to Tottenham Hotspur, got to use his pace further up the right wing.

Despite the U.S. steadying the ship, Colombia were level in the 60th minute as James weaved into the box. As he dinked the ball toward Teo in an offside position, Bacca arrived to take the ball around Guzan and tap into an empty net. Euphoria at the Cottage for the large band of Colombian fans but the U.S. can feel hard done by as Teo clearly influenced the play.

[ RELATED: Did Jones, Brooks partnership work? ]

Cuadrado, James and Bacca all smashed in shots on goal but Guzan was equal to them, and then the USA had a glorious chance at the other end but Vargas saved well from Wood with his feet. Colombia pushed hard for the winner late on and they got it through Teo as Edwin Cardona’s cross found him at the back post to head home the game-winner, over substitute Julian Green, as Colombian fans went wild.

LINEUPS

USA: Guzan; Yedlin (Green, 86′), Jones, Brooks, Garza (Beasley, 70′); Beckerman; Bedoya (Morales, 66′), Diskerud (Nguyen, 78′), F. Johnson; Altidore, Rubin (Wood, 66′)

Goal: Altidore (9′)

Colombia: Vargas, Arias, Franco, Murillo, Armero, Sánchez, Abel (Cardona, 74′), James, Cuadrado (Quintero, 90′), Bacca (Ramos, 78′), Teo (Martinez, 89′)

Goals: Bacca (60′), Teo (87′)