Kellyn Acosta celebrates his goal for the USA. (Jonathan Dyer-USA TODAY Sports)
TAMPA, Fla. – Sooner or later, the U.S. national team’s youth was going to caught up with the Americans and on Thursday night it did. The USA dropped a 4-2 decision to Columbia in an international friendly in front of a Tampa-record crowd of 38,631 at Raymond James Stadium.
Goals from Kellyn Acosta and Bobby Wood pulled the USA ahead early in the second-half, but a flury of second-half strikes saw Colombia score three consecutive goals to turn the game on its head.
A fantastic, curling effort from James Rodriguez in the 36th minute highlighted the first half. Acosta and Wood struck early in the second half to ignite five second-half goals. Colombia responded via Carlos Bacca, Radamel Falcao and a stunning bicycle kick from Miguel Angel Borja.
With a wealth of attacking talent, Colombia controlled much of the possession and came close in the fourth minute as Santiago Arias’ cross picked out Falcao at the top of the area, but the Monaco striker fired his first-time volley over the bar.
Though the U.S. absorbed much pressure, the team showed positive moments in attack. In the ninth minute, Antonee Robinson did nifty work down the left to play himself around Arias before shifting a pass to Julian Green. Cutting inside, Green hit a right-footed effort that tested goalkeeper David Ospina but zipped past the left post.
As the clock ticked towards halftime, Colombia put the hammer down in the U.S. final third. Only seconds after John Brooks blocked another first-time hit from Falcao, Rodriguez conjured some magic, scoring his golazo in the 36th minute. After some combination passing on the right, the Bayern Munich maestro collected from Arias at the top right corner of the penalty area before bending an effort inside the opposite corner.
Colombia poured more forward before the break, but saw goalkeeper Zack Steffen make a diving stop on Falcao’s 39th-minute effort, before center back Matt Miazga slid through to save Rodriguez’s 41-minute shot off the line.
The Americans’ response came quickly after halftime, with Robinson’s looping ball from the left falling for Acosta, whose late run set up a perfectly timed finish at the back post in the 50th minute to begin the second-half scoring.
Feeding off that energy, the USMNT granned the lead three minutes later when former B.W. Gottschee standout Tim Weah broke down the left before slipping a sublime pass for Wood, who cut through the Colombia back line to beat Ospina in the 53rd minute.
Colombia clawed back quickly, though as a combination on the right led to Arias centering for Carlos Bacca, allowing the Villarreal striker a clean, one-time finish from the penalty spot in the 56th minute. Los Cafeteros restored their lead via Falcao in the 74th minute, before Borja’s overhead effort closed out the scoring.
The U.S. will meet World Cup participants Peru in East Hartford, Conn. Tuesday, Oct. 16 (7:30 p.m. ET; ESPN2, UniMas, UDN). More than 20,000 tickets have been sold for the match at Pratt & Whitney Stadium at Rentschler Field