Brad Guzan made several key saves, including one on a penalty, in his first Copa America appearance but couldn't get to Jaime Castrillon's 14th-minute header and the United States lost 1-0 to Colombia on Thursday night.
It was the first time the United States lost three in a row since 2001. Both teams were eliminated from South America's soccer championship the day before when Brazil beat Ecuador, but the match nevertheless took on urgency at the finish.
Colombia goalkeeper Robinson Zapata was given a second yellow card and sent off for wasting time in the 84th minute when he fiddled with his shoe after Kyle Beckerman's tying goal was called back for offside.
As his teammates pleaded with Venezuelan referee Manuel Andarcia to no avail, Zapata took off his goalkeeper's jersey and striker Hugo Rodallega stepped into the net because Colombia had used all three of its substitutions.
The disorganized U.S. attack didn't capitalize, however, and the Colombians even managed to send some counterattacks Guzan's way during the rest of regulation and the four minutes of added time.
Castrillon's goal came off a long, perfectly placed pass from Camilo Zuniga on the right wing.
Castrillon stepped past his defender and headed it smartly past Guzan into the far side of the net.
In the 34th, Guzan drew a penalty when he took down Rodallega in the box while going for a loose ball. He redeemed himself on the kick by correctly anticipating Rodallega's shot and making a save that kept the score 1-0.
"In all three games, we had moments when we played well. But we still must be more consistent for 90 minutes in order to move to the next level," Bradley said following the match.
Kasey Keller started the first two matches in goal for the United States, a 4-1 loss to Argentina and a 3-1 loss to Paraguay.
The United States sent a mostly inexperienced squad to the tournament after winning the championships of North America, Central America and the Caribbean. The United States left many of the best players from that CONCACAF Gold Cup-winning team off this roster, and only six members of the 22-man roster had more than 10 international appearances when the Americans left for Venezuela, the AP reports.
The United States had one of its best chances in the 70th minute when striker Eddie Johnson had control at the top of the box with Colombia goalie Robinson Zapata well off his line. It took Johnson too long to unleash a shot, allowing Robinson to get back in the goal, and his effort went high and wide anyway.
Minutes later, the United States avoided falling behind by two goals when Lee Nguyen pressured a Colombian player to shoot high in front of an open net. Just seconds later, Guzan made a great fingertip save to push a shot just high and off the crossbar.
The U.S. finally appeared to score the equalizer with just minutes left, but after Kyle Beckerman buried a shot from six yards out, the goal was waived off for offside.
The United States' chances of scoring in the final minutes increased when Zapata was given his second yellow card - which resulted in a red and ejection - for delay of game. Because Colombia had already made its three allotted subs, forward Hugo Rodallega played the final few minutes in goal.
The U.S. failed to test Rodallega, even though four minutes of time was added, and actually gave up a few good counter attacks to Colombia in stoppage time.
With an already young team missing most of its top talent, Bradley used 11 players Thursday who saw their first action of the Copa America.
The United States entered the tournament 10-0-1 under Bradley, but will sit on its three losses before starting a stretch of three games in Europe on Aug. 22 at Sweden, sportsnetwork.com reports.
Prepared by Alexander Timoshik
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