clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Tottenham's DeAndre Yedlin concedes penalty as Colombia beats USA 2-0 in Copa America 2016 opener

New, comments

DeAndre Yedlin didn't play great in USA's 2-0 loss to Colombia, but it'd be unfair to say that he was terrible.

United States v Colombia: Group A - Copa America Centenario Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

It wasn't the best of days for DeAndre Yedlin in the opening match of the 2016 Copa America. Tottenham Hotspur's reserve fullback started the match and played 90 minutes for the Americans but conceded an penalty on an unlucky handball in the box in the first half. James Rodriguez converted from the spot after Cristian Zapata opened the scoring in the eighth minute, and USA limped to a 2-0 loss to Colombia in the first match of the summer's first international tournament.

Depending on who you ask, Yedlin was either completely terrible, or mostly inoffensive, but unlucky. I tend towards the second opinion. Jurgen Klinsmann's tactics relied on Yedlin and his left back counterpart Fabian Johnson to provide attacking with by moving forward often. After USA conceded in the eighth minute, Yedlin and Johnson moved at times ludicrously high up the pitch as USA tried to snatch a goal, which meant that USA were susceptible to Colombian counterattacks. Colombia's Edwin Cardona took full advantage of this, beating Yedlin a number of times when he was out of position, though Yedlin did have a number of good defensive stops and was overall pretty good on the defensive end. Yedlin should accept responsibility for some of Colombia's attacks down his flank, but his difficulty was as much a result of Jurgen Klinsmann's tactics: if you're tasked to go forward that much, it shouldn't be surprising that it's a lot tougher to get back on defense.

Unfortunately, Yedlin really wasn't able to get much going moving forward, which is primarily the reason you have someone with his skill set in the match. While he used his incredible speed to his advantage and had a couple of halfway decent crosses into the area, Colombia's defense did enough to nullify USA's threat from the flanks. That's more or less the story for every member of the USMNT, though, so it'd be a bit unfair to say this was all down to Yedlin having a bad game.

Then there was the first half handball in the box. On live television, it looked incredibly harsh as the ball appeared to ricochet off Yedlin's shoulder. Replays showed it to be... a fair bit more conclusive than that.

That's pretty much a 50/50 call. Yes, the ball definitely took a nasty deflection off of Yedlin's hand, but he was turning in the air and had his arms more or less tucked in. I'm not sure what more Yedlin could've done to avoid the situation, but the penalty was probably the right call and it was most certainly unlucky. You can't blame the official for pointing to the spot, and if he had let it go you'd expect Colombian fans to be spitting mad.

USA didn't do much against Colombia, but this was always likely to be the most difficult match in their group. USA has a chance to redeem themselves, first against a familiar opponent in Costa Rica that's missing Real Madrid keeper Keylor Navas, and then against a Paraguay side that's stout defensively but definitely beatable. It seems unlikely that Yedlin has played his way out of a starting job, and he'll be looking to redeem himself and his team going forward.