Offside Flag Stays Down, Takes USA Result with It
Jürgen Klinsmann saw what he needed to see at Fulham's Craven Cottage yesterday evening.
The USA national team coach also saw what he didn't want to see for the third straight match.
And what the linesman was seeing is anyone's guess.
Put it all together, and Colombia -- FIFA's current third-ranked side -- emerged from this neutral-site friendly with a 2-1 triumph on an excellent 87th-minute header by Teófilo Gutiérrez that sent the Americans to their third last-gasp loss in as many matches.
In the grand scheme of things, friendlies have only a subtle effect on FIFA world rankings, which determine where nations land in pod drawings when World Cup pools are determined. And Russia 2018 is well into the horizon, which is how Klinsmann is approaching his build-up. As such, he gave USA's future -- like Rubio Rubin and Julian Green -- a shot to show what they could do against a quality Cafeteros side.
Those two had mixed performances. Rubin was telepathic with veteran Jozy Altidore, the night's man of the match. Green was not ready for the moment; Gutiérrez caught him off-guard to net the decider.
Given the run of play, botched offside call or not, the outcome wasn't out of line:
So now it's off to Dublin for the USA and its second leg of this international window on Tue 18 Nov. Ireland is No 61 on FIFA's list. Klinsmann will obviously stay the course on his roster development strategy, but he'll no doubt take special interest in how his side handles the game's final ten minutes.
That's an issue needing to be addressed now.