Colombia squeezes past U.S. in friendly

Lee Nguyen (#8) looks to make a pass in the USA's friendly against Colombia on November 14, 2014, at Craven Cottage in London.  (Photo: Ben Queenborough/isisphotos.com)

LONDON – Colombia rallied to defeat the United States 2-1 in an international friendly before a capacity crowd of 24,235 at Craven Cottage on Friday.

After Jozy Altidore gave the U.S. a first-half lead from the penalty spot, the Colombians staged a comeback thanks to second-half goals by Carlos Bacca and Teófilo Gutiérrez in a battle of 2014 FIFA World Cup participants.

Gutiérrez netted the game-winner with three minutes left in normal time, finding space on the left side of the penalty area and heading home a short right-wing cross from Edwin Cardona at the far post.

It was the third consecutive game that the USA had surrendered a goal after the 86th minute.

The Americans were gifted a penalty kick in the 10th minute after Pablo Armero was called for a handball in the penalty area.  Goalkeeper Camilo Vargas guessed correctly, diving to his right as Altidore drilled a line drive past him for his 25th international goal.

The South Americans enjoyed the better of play in the opening half, but had nothing to show for their attacking efforts.

James Rodriguez sent a 20-yard shot wide right in the 21st minute, while Bacca -- off a Gutiérrez feed -- launched a shot that skimmed the outside of the right post 12 minutes later.

Rubio Rubin, 18, who plays for FC Utrecht in the Netherlands, had a promising debut, with two close headers that went wide right in each half.

Colombia equalized in the 60th minute as the U.S. backline paused and waited for an offside whistle that never came. Arriving from a from a deep position, Bacca ran onto the ball and forced goalkeeper Brad Guzan out of his net, before knotting the score at 1-1.

The CONCACAF Gold Cup champion will complete its 2014 schedule at Ireland on Tuesday.