USA gets pre-Copa America ‘wake-up call’ in rout by Colombia

Coach Gregg Berhalter said the United States men’s national soccer team got a “wake-up call” ahead of this summer’s Copa America in Saturday’s 5-1 humbling by Colombia at FedEx Field in Landover, Maryland.

The U.S. made a series of sloppy errors in conceding two goals in the first 19 minutes and three in the last 13 for the heaviest defeat of Berhalter’s reign.

Since a 5-1 loss to Czechoslovakia in the 1990 World Cup, the U.S. had given up that many goals only in a 5-0 loss to Mexico in the 2009 Concacaf Gold Cup final. It was the Americans’ first four-goal loss since a 4-0 defeat in a 2016 World Cup qualifier at Costa Rica that caused the U.S. Soccer Federation to fire coach Jurgen Klinsmann.

“Really disappointed, obviously, with the result,” Berhalter said in his postgame news conference. “We’re not framing it as a lesson learned; we’re actually framing it as a wake-up call. Really poor performance against a top team, and if you give a team like that the opportunities we gave them, you’re going to have no chance to win. It’s never going to happen.

“From the 75th minute on, I think it was … a lack of respect for our opponents [and] for the game of soccer.”

A defensive lapse by Antonee Robinson and aimless defensive play by Johnny Cardoso, Timothy Weah and Cameron Carter-Vickers led to four goals in the lopsided result. The other goal came after Tim Ream failed to clear a corner and Rafael Borré flashed an overhead kick past keeper Matt Turner.

“Everyone needs to look in the mirror after that game and figure it out because, obviously, we weren’t to the level that’s required,” Turner told TNT Sports.

“I’m going to apologize to the fans,” he added. “That’s not what we’re about. And, yeah, we need to bounce back in a big way.”

Weah scored the lone goal for the USMNT in the 58th minute to briefly give the home side hope after Jhon Arias and Borré had scored early for Colombia. But Richard Rios, Jorge Carrascal and Luis Sinisterra all found the net in an 11-minute spell late on to the delight of the pro-Colombian crowd of 55,494 clad in yellow jerseys.

“Obviously, it’s a learning experience for all the boys,” Weah said.

The U.S. will face Brazil in another friendly on Wednesday at Orlando, Florida, then will play its Copa America opener against Bolivia on June 23, followed by matches against Panama and Uruguay. The U.S. is among six invited guests to the tournament, South America’s championship.

Colombia extended its winning streak to seven and its unbeaten string to 22 since a 1-0 defeat at Argentina in a World Cup qualifier on Feb. 1, 2022. Colombia will meet Bolivia in an exhibition at Denver on June 15 then will play in a first-round group with Paraguay, Costa Rica and Brazil. The U.S. and Colombia could meet in the quarterfinals.

Information from The Associated Press contributed to this report.