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USA fall 2-0 to superior Columbia in Copa America Centenario opener

Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

The U.S. National Team fought hard but were ultimately undone by poor set piece marking and an unfortunate hand ball as the Americans were soundly defeated by Columbia in the opening match of the 2016 Copa America Centenario Friday night in Santa Clara.

In just the 8th minute, Columbia pulled ahead on a corner kick when Christian Zapata used a screen to get free and knock home a low volley past Brad Guzan.

The U.S. gave up a backbreaking penalty kick right before the half. DeAndre Yedlin was guilty of a hand ball in the box, and James Rodriguez easily slotted the penalty to his right, doubling the Columbian lead.

Things looked bleak for the Americans, but for a brief spell they looked dangerous: In the 60th minute a re-directed header off a corner kick had to be cleared inches from the line, and minutes later Clint Dempsey was unlucky when his free kick attempt was brilliantly parried away by goalkeeper David Ospina.

Columbia was still plenty dangerous, as Carlos Bacca beat the U.S. offside trap and smacked his shot past Guzan but it clanged off the crossbar late.

Despite the introduction of Christian Pulisic and Darlington Nagbe to inject some life into the attack, Jurgen Klinsmann and company had no real way of unlocking Columbia's defense.

The US now face a must-win vs. Costa Rica Tuesday night in Chicago.