US manager Bob Bradley experimented with a more attack-minded 4-3-3 formation, but it brought very few scoring opportunities as the US settled for a 0-0 tie against Colombia at PPL Park on Tuesday night.
The match marked the first US cap for FC Dallas midfielder Brek Shea, who lined up on the left wing of Bradley’s new formation. After playing at center back against Poland last Saturday, Maurice Edu returned to his more familiar central midfield role alongside Michael Bradley and Jermaine Jones, who was making his second appearance for the US.
It was a first half of very few opportunities on either side, with the US failing to create meaningful scoring chances in attack while Colombia were content to wait for a turnover to launch their counterattack.
The US failed to be crisp and quick with their passing, which was often inaccurate, predictable or intercepted by the Colombian pressing. The Americans could not get a single shot on goal in the first half and finished with just one shot on a set piece headed wide by Oguchi Onyewu in the 19th minute.
Colombia had the best chance of the first half after only four minutes. A giveaway by the US midfield allowed los Cafeteros to launch a breakaway and enter the US penalty area. Radamel Falcao’s first shot was blocked by a US defender and Giovanni Moreno followed up with a shot off the rebound, which US goalkeeper Brad Guzan saved from the ground.
In the second half, the US made five early substitutions in an attempt to jumpstart the attack. Bradley abandoned the 4-3-3 formation and instead paired Eddie Johnson with Jozy Altidore up top. Colombia also made their fair share of subs, but the match followed the script of the first half and the sides combined for mere half chances.
Of note was a play in the 73rd minute in which a free kick found Altidore in an offside position, nullifying his cross to Bradley, who deposited the ball into the back of the net.
In his first appearance for the US senior team, Shea was closed down effectively by Colombia right back Camilo Zúñiga and was rarely a threat before coming out at halftime. Right back Eric Lichaj, who was the most active of the fullbacks of the night with his forays into the attack, also got his first appearance in a US jersey.
Lichaj’s cross in the 86th minute led to the USA’s best opportunity of the night, as Altidore headed down his pinpoint service right at Colombian ‘keeper Faryd Mondragón, who stopped it on the line.
The match saw two AC Milan defenders, Mario Yepes and Onyewu, serve as captains of their respective squads at the start of the match. Onyewu, who played 90 minutes on Saturday for the first time since the World Cup, was replaced at halftime and the captain’s armband was passed on to Clint Dempsey.
The US return to action on Nov. 17 in the Nelson Mandela Challenge Cup, when the Red, White and Blue take on South Africa in Cape Town (3 p.m. ET, ESPN2).
USA (4-3-3 / left to right): #18 Brad Guzan; #14 Heath Pearce, #21 Clarence Goodson, #5 Oguchi Onyewu (capt.) (46' #16 Michael Parkhurst), #2 Jonathan Spector (46' #13 Eric Lichaj); #19 Maurice Edu (46' #9 Eddie Johnson), #15 Jermaine Jones, #4 Michael Bradley; #23 Brek Shea (46' #8 Clint Dempsey), #17 Jozy Altidore, #11 Stuart Holden (59' #22 Benny Feilhaber)
Subs Not Used: #1 Tim Howard, #7 Alejandro Bedoya
Head Coach: Bob Bradley
COLOMBIA (4-4-2 / left to right): #22 Faryd Mondragón; #6 Juan David Valencia, #3 Mario Yepes (capt.), #2 Aquivaldo Mosquera, #18 Camilo Zúñiga; #8 Victor Ibarbo (63' #4 Juan G. Cuadrado), #21 John Javier Restrepo, #15 Jhon Viáfara (63' #19 Jhon Valencia), #20 Adrián Ramos (73' #11 Teófilo Gutiérrez); #10 Giovanni Moreno (80' #7 Pablo Armero), #9 Radamel Falcao (56' #17 Darwin Quintero)
Subs Not Used: #1 David Ospina, #12 Bréiner Castillo, #14 Luis Amaranto Perea
Head Coach: Hernán Darío Gómez
COL – Adrian Ramos (caution) 72
USA – Jermaine Jones (caution) 75
USA – Jozy Altidore (caution) 90
COL – John Restrepo (caution) 91+
Referee: Roberto Garcia (Mexico)
Assistant Referees: Joel Rangel (Mexico), Marcos Quintero (Mexico)
Fourth Official: Brian Dunn (USA)
Weather: Clear, 65 degrees