Digital Headbutt

A sports blog about stuff…stuff that involves things.

USA vs. Colombia Live Blog: Copa America 2007

Posted by Mike on July 5, 2007

With Peru, Uruguay, and Chile all receiving ties in their third games, there is now no way that we can advance in Copa America. Therefore, we will see a lot of players who were on the bench get some game experience today.

team-america.jpg

We need a good result from this game, if only for pride.

6:40 pm, 6th minute: We get our first scoring opportunity with a free kick, but Hercules Gomez kicks it wide left.

6:43, 9th minute: Team USA put Brad Guzan in goal. I know that we’re not going to advance, but considering all of the complaints about how Kasey Keller has been playing, would Bradley have made this switch even if a quarterfinal spot was on the line?

6:45 pm, 12th minute: The stadium in Barquisimeto looks really nice, if you overlook the 10 foot wall of metal fence separating the fans from the field.

6:49 pm, 16th minute: NO! Colombia had been dominating ball possession, even thought nothing had become of it until now. A good cross from the right side is finished with a header into the net by Jaime Castrillon. The nightmares are coming back.

6:51 pm, 18th minute: Colombia nearly scores again thanks to a huge error by Brad Guzan, who didn’t secure the ball after a stop. Fortunately for him, two American players were there to try and knock the ball away from goal.

6:55 pm, 22nd minute: USA gets another legitimate scoring chance. Eddie Johnson advances deep in the right side of the Colombian end of the field, and draws a free kick. Justin Mapp’s kick is cleared, but Sacha Klejstan manages to put a good shot on goal from 20 yards out.

Imagine how sad that is, that I’m satisfied that we get a good shot on goal 23 minutes into the game.

6:59 pm, 25th minute: Hercules Gomez draws another free kick for team USA just outside the box. While I’m glad that we are being given another scoring opportunity (which we miss…again), I’m beginning to come concerned about a specific aspect of our play. Throughout Copa America, I have seen the one soccer strategy I thought I would never see out of the American team: anything that resembles or could be construed as flopping. Casual fans who are more familiar with American football certainly would not accept some of the falls that I’ve seen from team USA.

7:05 pm, 31st minute: Total minutes that team USA has played in Copa America: 210. Total minutes during which team USA has held a lead: 2 (10th and 11th minutes against Argentina). Much of it was in control of European clubs, who chose not to release some of our best players, but this is what happens when you send the MLS All-Stars to an important international tournament.

7:08 pm, 35th minute: To stop an easy goal, Guzan tackles Colombia’s Hugo Rodallega, drawing a penalty kick. Unbelievably, he saves the “PENAAAAALLLLLLLLL!!!” and after two corner kicks the Americans are able to clear the ball out of harm’s way.

7:11 pm, 38th minute: Pablo Ramirez: “HOO ARR YU! AIM DE KIIPERRRR.” Those kinds of calls make a terrible game worth watching.

7:15 pm, 42nd minute: The Beautiful Game raises speculation that Mexico tied with Chile on purpose, to ensure that team USA, their hated rival, could not advance in this tournament. I might actually agree with that 😉

7:19 pm, 45+ minutes: Colombia is definitely a faster team than the 11 players we have on the field right now. We’re going to need the halftime brak to regroup. At the end of the first half, Colombia leads, 1-0. My morale has a taken a significant drop in the last week. Exactly seven days and 36 minutes ago, We were the undefeated Champions of CONCACAF, team USA had played some of the most exciting soccer I had seen out of them in a log time against Mexico in the final, and Eddie Johnson has just scored off a penalty kick to give us a lead against ARGENTINA! Now, we could very well be the worst team in this tournament. If it isn’t a buzzkill, it’s certainly a wake-up call.

7:37 pm, 47th minute: The second half has just begun. Eddie Gaven is in for Hercules Gomez.

7:40 pm, 50th minute: It’s apparent that Colombia is still dictating the pace of this game. Most of the game so far has been played with them in possession of the ball, advancing the ball into our defensive territory.

7:43 pm, 53rd minute: Justin Mapp created two opportunities for USA off of a free kick; unfortunately, we were unable to convert either of them. He’s been one of our few bright spots in this game (and this tournament, really).

7:44 pm, 54th minute: I’m pretty sure Pablo Ramirez just called team USA “Los Nike.” That certainly wouldn’t be far from the truth.

7:48 pm, 57th minute: The long periods of relative inactivity in soccer games can feel different to different fans. If you’re putting a lot of emotional investment in the game (like I did in the CONCACAF Gold Cup final or in the first 75 minutes against Argentina), then you spend that time completely on edge. If you don’t have much feeling for the game, then you’re pretty bored. Since we can’t advance no matter what happens, my mental state has been the latter in the last 10 minutes or so.

7:54 pm, 63rd minute: During the second half, the offensive aggressor for Colombia has been Vladimir Marin. He has been responsible for their free kicks, and has attempted their last 2 or 3 shots.

7:55 pm, 65th minute: Out goes a tired Justin Mapp, in goes Charlie Davies for Team USA. Honestly, at this point we’re fielding players whom I have never heard of before, which is a bad sign.

7:59 pm, 69th minute: If there’s one big issue that I think team USA needs to address, it’s finishing what you start. We’ve gotten some good opportunities to score in this tournament, and in many games that I’ve seen, but we have been unable to capitalize on many of them. It’s really frustrating to see us get 6, 7, 8 decent chances at scoring, and coming up completely empty or with only one goal. We have to take better advantage of opportunities in order to be competitive in the world stage.

8:02 pm, 72nd minute: Eddie Johnson comes out of the games, replaced by “Lee N-win”. Oh, Pablo, without you I don’t know what I would do.

8:04 pm, 74th minute: You know this is a bad game when fans are doing “the wave” and already there are chants of “ARGENTINA! ARGENTINA!”

Now that I think about it, I’m hoping that Argentina wins this whole thing, so that we may get another shot at them in the 2009 Confederations Cup.

8:12 pm, 81st minute: We now have only nine minutes to score a goal and prevent ourselves from being the last place team in Copa America.

8:15 pm, 84th minute: Colombia catches USA’s defense completely flat-footed, leading to a two man breakaway. However, Lee “N-win” rushes in to deflect the ball away and prevent the easy goal and a 2-0 deficit. Three corner kicks later, Brad Guzan finally grabs the ball out of the air and clears the ball out of the zone.

8:17 pm, 87th minute: GOOOOOooo…..wait. USA finally gets an opportunity in the zone, and Kyle Beckerman manages to score on the right side. However, he is called offside, as no defender is in front of him when the ball is kicked in his direction.

8:19 pm, 89th minute: Here’s an interesting twist: Colombia has already used all of their substitutions, and Their goalie just got red carded, for what reason’s I’m still not sure. It means that one of their position players must play goal for the rest of the game. If this can’t get us a goal, nothing will.

8:26 pm, 90+ minutes: Well it got interesting near the end, but team USA was once again unable to take of advantage given to them, and Colombia wins the game 1-0. With this result, Los Nike finish 0-3 in Copa America, and with a goal differential of -6 end the tournament in last place. I should not have expected too much from our team in this tournament; it’s bad enough that we play in CONCACAF, and then we can only send our C team against everyone else’s A team. Still, I certainly expected more than this. Unfortunately, it will be quite a while before our senior team will be able to redeem itself after a disappointing finish.

I will look toward the U-20n World Cup for light at the end of the tunnel, where our American squad just beat Poland by a score of 6-1. Go USA! Beat Brazil!

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3 Responses to “USA vs. Colombia Live Blog: Copa America 2007”

  1. Steve said

    Agree with your comment regarding U-20 team.

    The question that needs to be asked is what is driving success and style of play at U-20 level, that looks like a truly internationally-competitive team vs. the US national team that is only competitive in CONCACAF?

    I believe it is more than talent. The style of football driven by Rongen (and executed by very talented players) will lead to more success beyond our region than the predictable-Arena-cronie-Bradley version of soccer.

  2. Mike White said

    So do you think Rongen should be our next coach?

  3. Steve said

    Rogen continues to perform to top-level standards, as demonstrated by last night’s performance.

    He had the team organized, tactics right, and high in confidence.

    Adu had one of the best games he has ever played. He has always had the talent, but has not had someone be able to consistently motivate him. Looks like Rogen has this magic.

    I believe he would make an excellent choice at the senior level. However, more a more consistent track record would be helpful. Let’s see how the U-20 WC ends.

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