5 more things you might not know about USA vs. Colombia

Allie Long heads the ball in for a goal -- her first of two on the night -- against Colombia on April 6, 2016, in East Hartford, Conn. (Mark L. Baer/USA Today Sports)

Allie Long heads one in — her first of two goals on the night — against Colombia  at Pratt & Whitney Stadium in East Hartford, Conn,, on April 6, 2016. . (Mark L. Baer/USA Today Sports)

The United States beat Colombia like a drum on Wednesday (April 6), outplaying the South Americans up and down the pitch en route to a 7-0 victory in East Hartford, Conn.

The lopsided score doesn’t fully convey how dominant Team USA was.

Tobin Heath outmaneuvers Liana Salazar of Colombia, April 6, 2016. (Mark L. Baer/USA Today Sports)

Tobin Heath outhustles Liana Salazar of Colombia.  (Mark L. Baer/USA Today Sports)

The Colombians, undisciplined and disorganized, spent the night chasing the ball. On those rare occasions when they found it, they would usually give it right back, either through sloppy passing or their inability to hold possession against the skilled, methodical American defense.

As a result, the Colombians were constantly on their heels, backpedaling as they tried in vain to contain the American attack. They were spent, physically and mentally, before halftime.

On offense, the Colombians could do nothing. On defense, they marked their opponents poorly, when they marked them at all.  The U.S. strikers had carte blanche to roam in front of the goal — with predictable results.

The two teams play again at 1 p.m. Sunday (April 10) in Chester, Penn. The game is on ESPN.

Here are five oddities, curiosities, or (possibly) interesting facts about the games and their participants:

 

1.

It was chilly and damp in East Hartford. A cold front delivered below-freezing temperatures around sunrise Wednesday. The low of 23 was 13 degrees colder than average. By game time, the temperature had climbed to the low 40s, but cloudy skies and 15 mph winds made it brisk on the pitch.

Winter wear: U.S. coach Jill Ellis. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

Winter wear: U.S. coach Jill Ellis. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

 

2.

Despite the cold, the game drew 21,792 fans, a record for the U.S. women in Connecticut. The old record was 18,870 , set on Oct.  23, 2012, when the U.S. women were touring America in a celebration of their 2012 Olympic gold medal. On that night, they played Germany to a 2-2 draw.

 

3.

Allie Long, a surprising call-up from the Portland Thorns, started at midfield and had a stellar night, playing all 90 minutes, finding seams throughout Colombia’s lines, and scoring twice.

It was the 28-year-old’s first start for the U.S. team since June 19, 2014, when the Americans beat France 1-0; and her first appearance since a 4-1 victory over Switzerland on Aug. 20, 2014.

Here’s Long’s first goal:

 

And here’s her second:

 

4.

In the early minutes, the Americans frittered away a couple of exquisite scoring opportunities, and the Colombians more or less were holding their own.

Then, in a span of 12 minutes,  the night imploded on Las Cafeteras.

Crystal Dunn got her team on the board in the 27th minute:

 

Long’s first goal followed in the 32nd minute, giving the Americans a 2-0 lead.

One minute later, Mallory Pugh caught Colombia’s backline by surprise with a quick, crafty cut to the goal. Carli Lloyd spotted her and delivered a perfectly timed pass. As the Colombian goalkeeper half-ran, half-stumbled out to challenge Pugh, the 17-year-old calmly pushed the ball into the vacant net.

 

Then Lloyd, poorly marked just outside the six-yard box, made it 4-0 in the 39th minute.

 

At that point, had this been a prizefight, the ref would have stopped it.

Apr 6, 2016; East Hartford, CT, USA; Colombia midfielder Nataly Arias (14) reacts against the United States of America during the first half at Pratt & Whitney Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark L. Baer-USA TODAY Sports Soccer: U.S. Women's National Team Friendly Soccer Match-Columbia at USA

Frustration is written in the face of Colombian midfielder Nataly Arias. (Mark L. Baer/USA Today Sports)

 

5.

The  Colombians looked bewildered, hesitant, and unprepared,  and there was a good reason: They were bewildered, hesitant, and unprepared.

Incredibly, this was their first game since last July 25, when they were brushed aside by Brazil in the final of the Pan American Games. (The score was 4-0.)

Over that same time, the U.S. women have played 18 games, including two tournaments: the Olympic qualifier and the SheBelieves Cup. They’ve traveled to 15 cities and faced 12 opponents, five of them among the world’s top 10: Germany (No. 2), France (3), England (4), Brazil (8), and Canada (10).

Tobin Heath and Crystal Dunn were happy with how things went. (Mark L. Baer/USA Today Sports)

Tobin Heath and Crystal Dunn were happy with how things went. (Mark L. Baer/USA Today Sports)

 

 

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