U.S. looks to end Copa on upbeat note

The USA, shown celebrating after scoring against Paraguay in the Copa America Centenario, will look to defeat Colombia in the competition's third-place match on June 25, 2016, in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo: Mexsport)


GLENDALE, Arizona -- United States head coach Jurgen Klinsmann says he plans to deploy the best lineup possible against Colombia in the Copa America Centenario match for third place on Saturday night.

He wouldn't name his Starting XI for the game at the University of Phoenix Stadium, though it wouldn't be surprising if he used the same players who performed in the Americans' three opening games.

That contingent produced a 2W-0D-1L record as the CONCACAF power took Group A honors ahead of runner-up Colombia. 

"We're having a chance to finish up third in a Copa America," Klinsmann commented. "It's huge, so we'll have our strongest team out there."

Suspensions to midfielders Jermaine Jones and Alejandro Bedoya, as well as forward Bobby Wood, forced Klinsmann to alter his lineup for Tuesday night's 4-0 semifinal loss to Argentina. He signaled that those three players would return against Colombia.

"All three players were suffering a lot because not being on the field against an opponent like Argentina," said the 51-year-old German. "It really hurt them."

Klinsmann hoped that his team learned a lesson from the setback to Argentina, stating: "This loss taught us that mentally it is so important that you go into a game against a big favorite like Argentina with more belief, with more grit, with more aggressiveness. At the end of the day we were too nice."

One of the Americans' biggest faults was a lack of an effective attack. They were outshot, 10-0.

"We have to move the whole game further up the field," Klinsmann noted. "We have to have more courage to go one against one. We've got to have more courage to get down to the end lines."

This game is a rematch of the June 3 tournament opener, when the USA dropped a 2-0 decision to the Colombians. 

Klinsmann felt that much has changed since then.

"We approach this game with a lot of determination and hunger," he concluded. "We want to win this game. We want to finish third. We are really ready to give it a go and make it happen."