The return of USMNT games was supposed to be a welcome distraction from the drama currently surrounding the US Soccer Federation. It was the launching point of the 2026 World Cup cycle. There were fresh, eager players on the roster going up against an inexperienced Serbia team.
Unfortunately, it was yet another loss. Now, the US must look to bounce back and avoid a winless January Camp as they preview a game with Colombia.
US Loss to Serbia
Wednesday night’s loss to Serbia was dispiriting. Even then, it provided a few reasons for optimism. Perhaps most depressing was a sparse crowd, announced at just over 11,000. This comes on the heels of the USMNT having their worst average attendance since 2006. Also dispiriting was the fact that the US lost the game (the seventh time in the last eight games the US has failed to win).
The US took a 1-0 lead through a Brandon Vazquez header after some good build-up play. It was not to last however as the Serbs equalized on a free kick just before halftime and then took the lead immediately after halftime. Serbia did not relinquish that lead for the remainder of the game.
It was not all doom and gloom, however. In goal, Gaga Slonina made several point-blank saves and was overall pretty good, despite giving up the two goals. Cade Cowell also created a number of quality chances. Most notably the two all-important dual nationals had good games. Vazquez’s goal was very well taken and interim boss Anthony Hudson was effusive in his praise of Alejandro Zenedejas’s 90-minute performance. However, Zendejas returns to Club America before the Colombia fixture.
While the Serbian team was definitely young and inexperienced, so too was the US. In fact, a total of eight players made their international debuts on Wednesday night. How many more will get their first cap against Colombia?
A preview of what the USA gets against Colombia
Unlike the US, Colombia did not qualify for the World Cup in Qatar. It was the first time since 2010 that they had missed the tournament. They finished sixth in CONMEBOL qualifying, one point behind Peru who advanced to the intercontinental playoff from the fifth-place spot.
Since missing the World Cup the Cafeteros have not played very many games. They have, however, won them all. First was a 1-0 against Saudi Arabia. They followed that up with three straight wins in the US: 4-1 against Guatemala in New York, 3-2 against Mexico in San Francisco and 2-0 against Paraguay in Miami.
Like his American counterpart, manager Nester Lorenzo has called in a squad with very little international experience. Only defender Frank Fabra has more than 3 caps, with 26. The squad does feature six MLS players: Santiago Moreno and Juan Mosquera of the Portland Timbers, Andres Reyes of the New York Red Bulls, Cucho Hernandez of the Columbus Crew, Cristian Arango of LAFC, and Dylan Borrero of the New England Revolution.
Saturday’s game is the first for the USMNT airing on TNT as part of its new deal with Warner Bros. Discovery. The previous contest was on HBO Max, also new to the deal. Coverage is also available on Telemundo and Peacock Premium.
Kickoff is at 7:30 p.m. ET at Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, CA. This is the USMNT’s 19th all-time appearance at Dignity Health Sports Park, and eleventh since 2010.
According to a release from US Soccer on Thursday, over 24,000 tickets have been sold which would make Saturday’s game the largest crowd for the USMNT at Dignity Health Sports Park since February of 2014 against South Korea.
The preview of USA against Colombia is somewhat grim when looking at the all time series. The USMNT has three wins and four draws to go along with 13 losses. The two have played six times in the last 15 years. Colombia won five of those, with the other being a draw.
Most recently, Colombia defeated the USMNT, 4-2, at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa on Oct. 11, 2018.
This game against Colombia does not give much of a preview for the USA with its upcoming fixtures. The USMNT reconvenes in late March. It has CONCACAF Nations League fixtures at Grenada and home to El Salvador.
PHOTO: IMAGO / ZUMA Wire
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