TAMPA, Fla.— Whoever asked for goals certainly got what they wished for.
Colombia defeated the U.S. 4-2 in a goal fest at Raymond James Stadium on Thursday night.
A second half that saw five goals witnessed the U.S. score twice to go in front, only for the stellar attacking play of Colombia to come back with three goals unanswered to win the match.
James Rodriguez was the star of the match, providing an assist to go along with his magical opening goal of the game.
Colombia dominated possession and attacking chances throughout the game. At the 35th minute, Rodriguez finally made that mean something.
A ball out right went from right back Santiago Arias to Rodriguez in the right corner of the box.
The Colombian No. 10 cut onto his world class left foot and unleashed an astonishing curler that U.S. keeper Zack Steffen had no chance of stopping. It sent the heavy pro-Colombia crowd of 38,631 into a frenzy.
The young U.S. squad with an average of just over 24 years old battled back right at the start of the second half. Within six minutes, the Americans took a 1-0 lead against the run of play.
Wild Second Half
On 50 minutes, left back Antonee Robinson brought the ball down the left side running at the Colombian defense. He whipped an inviting early cross into the center of the box. There to meet it was midfielder Kellyn Acosta, who’s delayed run went unmarked. His sliding finish flew into the roof of the net and tied it 1-1.
Just three minutes later, the hosts launched a lethal counter attack.
Julian Green did well with a tackle to win the ball back in midfield.
He sent a good ball out left to young winger Tim Weah. Weah slowed the ball down just a bit to allow for Bobby Wood to get a slight step on the Colombian defense. Weah slipped a perfectly weighted ball through the defense and Wood finished it nicely in the bottom corner.
Colombia answered right back though, with its star-studded attack roaring back to the tune of three second-half goals. It was bound to happen considering the fact Colombia had 62% of the possession and outshot the U.S. 17-5.
The visitors attacked time after time down the U.S.’s left side, overloading it with any combination of Arias, Rodriguez, Juan Guillermo Cuadrado, and Radamel Falcao.
That’s where they got their second and third goals.
Three minutes after the U.S. took the 2-1 lead, Colombia tied it up at 2-2 after Carlos Bacca got on the end of an Arias low cross at the near post with a far post finish.
The goal party continued on 74 minutes after a beautiful counter-attack.
Rodriguez sent a hopeful long ball up towards Carlos Bacca, who out muscled a Robinson who’s seen better nights at left back.
After winning it, Bacca back-heeled a lay-off for Juan Quintero. Quintero quickly weighed an accurate through ball for Falcao, who finished first time into the lower corner.
Colombia put the final nail in the coffin three minutes later.
Again it was Rodriguez at the center of things. He maneuvered in the box for a few seconds before finding space to cross the ball back post. There was substitute Miguel Borja, who’s astonishing scissor kick finish provided the final exclamation mark for an action packed friendly.