For more than an hour, the U.S. national team stood toe to toe with one of the world's best teams, battling Colombia to a 2-2 stalemate on a muggy night in Tampa, Florida via well-taken goals from the Colorado Rapids' Kellyn Acosta and German-based veteran Bobby Wood just after halftime.
Then the superlative quality of Los Cafeteros kicked in.
Orchestrated by the vibrant attacking play of James Rodriguez all night, Colombia hit the afterburners down the stretch, slashing the USMNT open in transition repeatedly and cruising to a 4-2 friendly win in front of a spirited crowd heavily sprinkled with the visitors' trademark gold jerseys at Raymond James Stadium.
Rodriguez opened the scoring with a delicious left-footed curler, then played conductor as the visitors reeled off three unanswered goals finished by Carlos Bacca, Radamel Falcao and Miguel Borja, providing the U.S. with a vivid reminder of the long, hard road ahead as a new era unfolds for the program.
- 36' – COL – James Rodriguez | WATCH
- 50' – USA – Kellyn Acosta | WATCH
- 53' – USA – Bobby Wood | WATCH
- 56' – COL – Carlos Bacca | WATCH
- 74' – COL – Radamel Falcao | WATCH
- 79' – COL – Miguel Borja | WATCH
- THE BIG PICTURE: No one came into this game with any great illusions about the gap between these two teams; that said, the style, verve and ruthlessness with which Colombia exploited the USMNT's moments of hesitance and loss of shape should provide a sobering reminder that the new U.S. head coach can't arrive too soon.
- MOMENT OF THE MATCH: All the goals were enjoyable to watch, but the individual brilliance of James' strike will linger longest in the memory of most observers:
- MAN OF THE MATCH: Given his resume and reputation, it's no great shock that James Rodriguez seized the spotlight once again.
- USA: Tuesday, October 16 vs. Peru (7:30 pm ET | ESPN2, UniMás, UDN)