Cristián Zapata

Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

USA 0-2 Colombia: USMNT dominated in 2016 Copa America opener


The U.S. national team’s 2016 Copa America Centenario campaign is off to a sputtering start following its 2-0 defeat at the hands of the world’s no. 3, Colombia, in the opening game of the 100th-anniversary tournament Friday night in Santa Clara, Calif.

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Cristian Zapata and James Rodriguez scored the game’s only goals, as Jurgen Klinsmann’s Yanks were lopsidedly outplayed in every area of the field for 90 straight minutes.

Colombia went ahead with their first chance of the game, seven minutes on the clock, when Zapata lost his marker, Geoff Cameron, and hammered a low, right-footed strike past Brad Guzan from Edwin Cardona’s corner kick.

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Colombia doubled their lead following a bit of controversy — and a massive blunder by Bradley — less than five minutes before halftime. Michael Bradley gave the ball away in a terrible part of the field, which quickly turned into Farid Diaz crossing the ball into the box, at which point DeAndre Yedlin was adjudged to have handled the ball. Penalty to Colombia, and Rodriguez converted with ease.

The USMNT’s first clear-cut chance of the game came right on the hour mark, when Clint Dempsey found himself free in the penalty area and headed Bradley’s corner kick down and goal-bound, only to see it booted clear by a defender protecting the near post.

It was Dempsey who, four minutes later, forced David Ospina into a desperate, diving save of the former USMNT captain’s free kick from 25 yards out. Hit with pace and curve around the wall, Dempsey early found the upper-90 if not for the Arsenal goalkeeper covering all of that ground so quickly.

[ FOLLOW: PST’s Joe Prince-Wright live from Santa Clara ]

Rodriguez was forced to leave the game with an injury to his shoulder in the 72nd minute, a couple minutes after landing awkwardly on his left arm. The Real Madrid superstar briefly left the field for treatment and re-emerged from the bench before ultimately being removed a minute later.

Carlos Bacca went inches from making it 3-0 in the 80th minute, when the star Sevilla striker got in behind the USMNT defense and hammered a shot off the crossbar and back into the field of play. Guzan was easily beaten by the effort without knowing all that much about it.


The USMNT will face Costa Rica in Group A game no. 2, Tuesday night (8 p.m. ET) at Soldier Field in Orlando, Fla., while Colombia could secure passage into the quarterfinals with a victory over Paraguay at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif. (10:30 p.m. ET)

Peru draw Colombia, advance to Copa America quarterfinals

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Peru drew Colombia 0-0 in Copa America group-stage play and have solidified a spot in the quarterfinals.

Colombia have moved past the Copa America group stage for eight of the last nine tournaments and will do so again with Brazil’s victorious result against Venezuela.

Jose Pekerman’s side got off to a quick start on the attack and were clearly pushing hard with the aim of mounting an early lead.

In the fourth minute, James Rodriguez curled a well-intended cross that dealt with well by the Peru defense, but the following corner kick had the visitor on its heels, with AS Monaco’s Radamel Falcao firing on frame to compel goalkeeper Pedro Gallese into a tough stop.

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Four minutes later, it was more strong offense from Los Cafeteros and quality build-up that afforded defender Pablo Armero a good chance on the left, though his strike blazed into the side netting.

Peru began to tighten up and ward off their opposition’s threats, despite an inability able to throw forward their own threatening opportunities.

Toward the half, however, after James nearly slipped Falcao through on a excellent ball that was called offside, Claudio Pizarro–replaced by Jefferson Farfan in the 56th minute–put Guerrero through with an accurate ball. Facing Cristian Zapata, he dribbled for space and zipped his effort wide of the post.

The second half saw Peru playing for a tie while also generating decent chances on frame.

But Colombia had their occasions, notably in the 69th minute when Teófilo Gutiérrez fed Rodriguez and the young star watched his attempt on goal get thwarted. Peru couldn’t clear it away to prevent ensuing danger, and Gallese had to come up big and stuff midfielder Jackson Martinez on the rebounded effort.

Ten minutes went by, and James almost caused the match-deciding penalty kick. He made a crafty run at the back line and coaxed Carlos Lobaton into a challenge that drew the penalty, mere inches outside of the penalty box.

In the final minute of stoppage time, James saw his shot from close-range blocked, a fitting conclusion to the first-class display of Peru’s defensive awareness for the majority of the match.

Highlights: It only took 40 minutes for Lionel Messi to pull Barcelona even

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Ahead of today’s game there was a lot of discussion about what Barcelona needed to do to pull back Milan’s two-goal advantage, analysis that proved overkill after 40 minutes at the Nou Camp. For all the appeals to heart and passion, all Barcelona needed to do was get the ball to Lionel Messi.

The first goal, in the fifth minute, was sublime. Yes, Milan’s two central defenders could have done a little more, but who’s to say the best reactions would have allowed Cristian Zapata and Philippe Mexes to get to to Messi in time to stop this one:

Barcelona packed on the pressure after their opener, but as halftime approached it seemed Max Allegri’s team would get their 15 minutes to regroup. Then came a turnover, a quick pass from Andres Iniesta, and Messi finding just enough room under Mexes to get his shot past Christian Abbati.

After 45 minutes in Barcelona, it’s all even, Lionel Messi having pulled back the two-goal lead Milan carried into today’s second leg.

As always, highlights are courtesy of FOX Soccer.