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U.S. thrashed by Colombia in Copa America warm-up


U.S. thrashed by Colombia in Copa America warm-up

The United States' preparations for the upcoming Copa America suffered a humbling reality check on Saturday (Jun 8) as Gregg Berhalter's side were thrashed 5-1 by Colombia in a pre-tournament friendly. Colombia secured victory through first-half goals from Fluminense striker Jhon Arias before an overhead kick from Rafael Borre put the South Americans 2-0 ahead after just 19 minutes at FedEx Field in Landover, Maryland.

The U.S. improved during the second half and were handed a lifeline after a well-worked goal by Timothy Weah on 58 minutes. But Colombia substitute Richard Rios slammed the door on any hope of a U.S. revival on 77 minutes, coolly sweeping in a low finish to restore the visitors' two-goal cushion before Jorge Carrascal added a fourth five minutes from time. Luis Sinisterra then tucked away a fifth on 88 minutes after Colombia sliced open a brittle U.S. defense once again.

The rout marked the first time the U.S. have conceded five goals in a game since their 5-0 defeat to Mexico in the 2009 CONCACAF Gold Cup final.

The drubbing could have been worse for Berhalter's side, who saw Colombia squander several other goal-scoring chances during the game.

U.S. coach Berhalter named a starting line-up comprised entirely of players from Europe's top five leagues as they build towards their Copa America Group C opener against Bolivia in Dallas on Jun 23.

Yet Berhalter's line-up was in danger of being overrun in a one-sided start to the game that saw Colombia hit the ground running with wave after wave of attacks.

Arias put the Colombians 1-0 up after just six minutes. Colombia playmaker James Rodriguez attempted to thread a pass through to Arias but instead saw Fulham's Antonee Robinson slide in to make a block.

Robinson's interception, however, fell kindly into the path of Arias, who thumped an emphatic finish into the roof of the net.

The U.S. almost drew level moments later after Robinson picked out Folarin Balogun, whose low shot was cleared off the line by a desperate sliding clearance from Davinson Sanchez.

That, however, was the closest the U.S. came to scoring during the early onslaught, and Colombia were soon threatening again with Mateus Uribe flashing a header wide of the post on 17 minutes.

Borre then showed great instincts to hook in an overhead kick on 19 minutes to give Colombia a 2-0 lead at half-time.

Weah's goal early in the second half after a superb through ball from Balogun gave the U.S. hope. But the Colombians continued to threaten and looked the more incisive team, and Rios's goal in the 77th minute put them 3-1 ahead.

Colombia then picked off the U.S. with ease in the final minutes, twice stitching together attacks that led to late goals for Carrascal and Sinisterra.

The U.S. continue their preparations for the Copa America, which is being staged across the United States, with a friendly against Brazil on Wednesday.

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