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USA vs. Colombia Copa America, recap: Tourney hosts open with loss

Starting off with their toughest match of the Group Stage, the Americans fell to a team that was better at set pieces, more physical and faster. Both of the goals in the 2-0 result came from dead balls: A corner and a penalty.

Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Little went right for the United States in their opening match. Whereas historically the USMNT is a team that can steal goals against technical sides through sheer effort, being better athletes or dominating set-pieces, the 2-nil loss was opposite day. Colombia was faster for sure, more physical and converted on a corner and from the spot.

The Cristian Zapata conversion of Edwin Cardona's corner came in just the eighth minute, putting the Americans in a poor game state against a side that enjoys sitting back and countering. Their second goal came from James Rodriguez as he finished the penalty that DeAndre Yedlin earned.

Throughout the match Clint Dempsey was the only effective attacking player. In what seemed like a replay of the early season Sounders, the striker was on his own both creatively and shooting. He would finish with seven shots, two on target, with both of those being near-goals. One came from a headed corner that was saved off the line. The other was a stellar set piece delivery that David Ospina just saved.

Dempsey also had the shots that were third- and fourth-most-likely to be goals.

He was the best American on the field -- certainly in the attack -- and yet, as happens too often for Seattle soccer fans these days, that was true for a forward that didn't convert a goal.

He and the entire US team looked more dynamic when Darlington Nagbe and Christian Pulisic entered for Jones and Wood in the 66th minute. There were fun interchanges, but neither the future of the national team nor old man Clint managed to take those moments and making something special.

The US is now forced to hope that tomorrow's Costa Rica vs. Paraguay match on Fox at 2 PM ends in a draw. Then they must get a win against CONCACAF rival Costa Rica Tuesday at 5 PM. Points, and likely a win, will be necessary in their final Group Stage match against Paraguay on June 11.

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