By Paul Kennedy
Colombia rewarded its heavy contingent of support in West London with a
2-1 win over the USA on Friday night. A few bright spots for the USA can't erase the reality that it continues to struggle in the post-World Cup cycle. 1. Forty-five minutes aren't enough.
In the last three friendlies against Ecuador, Honduras and Colombia, the USA has taken a lead into halftime. In all three games, it came
away without a win. If you go back the last six games, it has been outscored 6-1 in the second half. That's certainly not a sign of a team making progress.
For all the attention to the
late goals the USA conceded in these last three friendlies -- Enner Valencia
's 88th-minute equalizer for Honduras, Maynor
's 86th-minute equalizer for Honduras and Teo Gutierrez
's 87th-winner for Colombia -- the reality is Jurgen
's team has failed to show much from beginning to end in the second half.
Friday's game was the toughest test, for sure. And Colombia showed after it went behind on a Jozy Altidore
penalty that it was in another class from the USA, coming close in the first half when Carlos Bacca
outside of the post and being unlucky not to get a penalty call on a Jermaine Jones
Except for an early header by Rubio Rubin
and chance for Bobby Wood
created by Lee Nguyen
, there were few moments of
good play for the USA in the second half. 2. Opportunity lost for Mix in midfield.
There was lots to be concerning -- once again --
about the U.S. game in midfield. Its ability to hold possession inevitably led to the Cafeteros taking control of the match and pulling ahead. Colombian-American Alejandro Bedoya
had a good game -- the kind of solid effort to showcase his talents for a possible transfer move in January from French club Nantes -- but the rest?
Klinsmann has been counting on Mix Diskerud
to take charge as a two-way player and primary outlet in a central role, but he failed to stamp his mark on the
game. It's hard to imagine Klinsmann sticking with Kyle Beckerman
, who turns 33 in April, as he moves deep in 2015. But most worrying was the game from Fabian Johnson
, a shadow of his World Cup self in the first half in midfield -- and then at right back after the break when he left Bacca to run on to the loose ball
for Colombia's equalizer.
As for DeAndre Yedlin
, he took over on the right side in midfield for the second half and showed nothing we didn't
already know -- he's got plenty of speed but remains very unpolished. 3. Bright debut for Rubio Rubin.
is 18 years old. He signed his pro contract and has only played nine pro league games. But the first-year FC Utrecht forward was one of the few bright spots for the USA with an
excellent showing against Colombia in his international debut -- all the things, in fact, we're been seeing all fall from him in the Eredivisie.
He'll be remembered for his role in the
opening goal, undercutting Pablo Armero
to earn a rather fortunate penalty kick on a handball by the Colombian, but his sharp passing, poise on the ball and
alertness to get open for two headers belied his inexperience. At Utrecht, he's evolved into a No. 10, he wore No. 9 for the USA, but he is a true trequartista, as the Italians call an in-between
Along with Greg Garza
at left back, Rubin is a player Klinsmann can point to as being a building block to build the team around for the