In a spirited match that roused tremendous enthusiasm from an otherwise neutral Craven Cottage crowd, a contentious goal from Carlos Bacca and stunning header from Teofilo Gutierrez led Colombia to a 2-1 comeback victory over the U.S. in an international friendly on Friday in London.
Down by a goal for most of the match, Los Cafeteros couldn’t gain any attacking momentum until the 60th minute when forward Bacca struck, and Gutierrez pinpointed a header to the top left corner of the net in the 87th minute to seal the win.
Jozy Altidore put the Yanks on top 1-0 in the 10th minute, converting a penalty shot for the 25th international goal of his career. Los Cafeteros defender Pablo Armero conceded the penalty when he was called for a hand ball violation in the eighth minute.
Colombia’s attack couldn’t break through until the 60th when Bacca parlayed a perceived offsides play into a right-footed equalizer. Fellow forward Gutierrez was well past the Yanks backline in their penalty area, but avoided a play on James Rodriguez’s through ball. Thusly, the U.S. defense held back expecting a flag on the play, but Bacca swooped in to catch keeper Brad Guzan off guard.
Up until that point the U.S. looked poised to claim their second victory since the Round of 16 World Cup run in the summer, but instead suffered their first loss since Brazil and head into next week’s match against the Republic of Ireland with their heads hung low.
Despite the two goals, Guzan wound up with 12 saves and the Yanks managed to contain Colombia’s high-powered for the majority of the match. Still Colombia came up with 21 total shots, eight of which were on target, and keeper Camilo Vargas was equally impressive with eight saves.
Altidore nearly gave away the lead he singlehandedly built, earning a yellow card in the 35th minute for a rough foul in the attacking half on midfielder Juan Cuadrado. The poor play gave Rodriguez an excellent opportunity to equalize on the subsequent free kick, but he sailed it well above Guzan’s net.
A bit of officiating luck also bounced in the U.S.’s favor when Jermaine Jones may have gotten away with a hand ball violation in the 41st minute. Though the replay didn’t show any ill intentions, the New England Revolution midfielder blocked Cuadrado’s shot and the Yanks avoided the equalizer.