SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- With the Western hemisphere watching, Colombia cruised to a comfortable 2-0 victory over the U.S. men's national team in the opening match of the 2016 Copa America Centenario tournament.
A packed house at Levi's Stadium -- 67,439 dressed in the national team colors of their respective nations -- cheered on the #3 in the world Colombians, who scored in just the 8th minute through a corner kick by Cristian Zapata and doubled their lead on a penalty kick goal by James Rodriguez in the 42nd minute.
The U.S. had several chances through Clint Dempsey, but they never really threatened the South Americans. The Yanks will need to regroup quickly for upcoming group stage games against Costa Rica and Paraguay.
What was it like at Levi's Stadium for the first Copa America match ever placed in the USA? Enjoy this minute by minute look at the sights and sounds of the game.
Pregame -- The opening game of the tournament had the requisite opening ceremony, with booming music and clever hexagonal patterns decorating the field. The supporters from both sides were slowly making their way to their seats, with yellow-clad Colombia fans outnumbering their red, white, and blue USA counterparts.
National Anthems -- Both sides were in full voice for the anthems, and Levi's Stadium roared at the end of each song. Even Jurgen Klinsmann got into the act, mouthing the words from the USA dugout. Colombia looked to still be wearing their training kits -- the yellow socks were a sight to see -- while the U.S. had the almost all-whites on for their Copa debut.
Starting line-ups -- While James Rodriguez captained Colombia, the U.S. men's national team was led by Michael Bradley. The Toronto star was joined in the Starting XI by three other MLS representatives -- Jermaine Jones of the Colorado Rapids, Gyasi Zardes of the LA Galaxy, and Clint Dempsey of the Seattle Sounders. The San Jose Earthquakes star striker Chris Wondolowski was on the bench.
Kickoff -- The sun, which had baked the stadium all day, was beginning its decent in the west, still shining through the gap next to the luxury suites tower. The U.S. played into the sun for the first half, though it didn't seem to play too much of a disadvantage.
5' -- Following some flair on the ball by Colombian midfielder Juan Cuadrado in front of the USA goal, defender Geoff Cameron showed off some razzle-dazzle of his own to clear the ball from danger. Supporters of both sides cheered in delight.
8' -- The first corner kick of the match proved decisive, as a well executed set piece gave Colombia a 1-0 lead. Edwin Cardona, whipped a ball to the space in between the penalty spot and the six-yard box as Cristian Zapata curled off defender Cameron and lashed the ball past Brad Guzan. The momentary ball-watching from Cameron was all the time Zapata needed to score the first goal of Copa America.
14' -- A free kick attempt from Dempsey, straight out from goal and only 25 yards from target, smashed into the defensive wall. The U.S. would squander two more free kicks in the same area before the half was over.
22' -- After some possession from the USMNT and straightforward defending by Colombia, the momentum shifted back to the visitors. Cardona, the assist man earlier, played a little keepy-uppy inside the box, eluded DeAndre Yedlin in the process, and volleyed a goal-bound shot. Guzan was equal to the challenge, and the score remained 1-0.
36' -- The U.S. finally found its first shot from the run of play, as Dempsey collected the ball centrally and took a touch toward the Colombia goal. He lashed a left-footed shot that had goalkeeper David Ospina beat, but the ball sailed just wide of the left post. The American Outlaws gasped expectantly, but even their collective will couldn't guide the ball into the back of the net.
40' -- After Bradley gave the ball away in the USA half, Colombia pounced on the opportunity and pushed perilously forward. Bradley tried to make amends with a vicious tackle on Rodriguez, but the visitors kept possession and referee Roberto Garcia played advantage. Then the ball was whipped into the box, and the deflected ball was collected by Guzan. Unfortunately, Garcia adjudged Zedlin to have deflected the ball with his hand, and quickly pointed to the spot.
42' -- Goal number two for Colombia, as Rodriguez sent Guzan the wrong way and coolly doubled the visitor's lead. The most dangerous lead in soccer looked very safe for Columbia.
Halftime -- No extravaganza at the break, as just the subs took the field, warming up with a hope of maybe turning it around for the U.S. Darlington Nagbe looked impressive -- in warm ups, mind you -- and would certainly be a welcome change for a team that looked static for much of the opening 45 minutes. Wondolowski continued to keep himself ready.
51' -- No changes for either side, so the second half started a lot like the first. Cuadrado continued to terrorize along the right flank, and Colombia looked certain to find a third goal.
54' -- John Brooks, maybe having seen enough of Cuardado, put a perfectly timed flying tackle in on the Colombian winger, sending him tumbling theatrically to the turf. The foul was called, though Brooks did get all ball ahead of the tumble, and the Colombian fans rallied to their team's support with the obligatory "Ole!" cheer with every touch in possession.
57' -- The first yellow card of the match goes to Alejandro Bedoya, who arrived late for a challenge on Jeison Murillo and leveled the defender with a foot to foot connection. Add in a slight elbow, and Bedoya earned the yellow without question.
59' -- The U.S. also gained some momentum from the first yellow card, and for the next few minutes came dangerously close to pulling a goal back. A corner kick delivery from Bradley was well headed by Dempsey on target, but midfielder Sebastian Perez made a kick-save off the line to deny the captain. Another USA corner kick was saved comfortably by Ospina.
64' -- Dempsey with a wicked free kick, causes Ospina to make a reaching save and electrifies the USA crowd for a moment. It was a save expected from the Arsenal netminder, but one that marked the U.S.'s best shot on goal in the game thus far.
66' -- Klinsmann sends in the reinforcements, replacing Jermaine Jones and Bobby Wood with Christian Pulisic and Darlington Nagbe. The U.S. needed fresh legs -- they got some fresh faces too -- as the game was slipping further away.
68' -- Colombia again threatened to kill off the game after advancing through the U.S. midfield. And if not for a sliding stop on an open shot from the top of the area, the visitors certainly would have wrapped up the Copa America opening match.
75' -- Attendance is announced at 67,439 -- a sell out at Levi's Stadium. Great job by all the fans in attendance, who made the atmosphere electric from the opening whistle.
77' -- Carlos Bacca sneaks past the U.S. defense and has only Guzan to beat, but his powerful shot rockets off the crossbar and away from danger, as Colombia chooses not to sit on their 2-0 lead.
79' -- It's Dempsey again, taking possession and marauding into the area to lash a shot just wide of the goal. Colombia is not so much vulnerable at this stage, as they are still staying organized, but they show no intention of bunkering down and seeing the game to completion.
84' -- The USA is chasing the ball at this point, with nothing to lose, but Colombia looks certain to counter at any moment. The Bacca shot in the 77th minute was a preview for what seems to be coming.
87' -- Nagbe earns a free kick in a dangerous position, and Bradley's blast of a kick is narrowly missed by Dempsey with a header. Nagbe looks very natural on the ball, something the U.S. was lacking in the first half.
88' -- The last substitute of the night for the USMNT is Graham Zusi, as a relatively ineffective Bedoya is finally brought off. With the game almost over, it would have been a good spot to bring in Wondolowski as a reward for the local soccer supporters, but Klinsmann did not see it that way.
90+3' -- Some scant minutes of stoppage time flashed by, and the yellow parts of Levi's Stadium celebrated a comfortable 2-0 victory over the hosts. The USA will need to get results in their second two group stage games in order to advance. The U.S. plays next on Tuesday, June 7, against CONCACAF rivals Costa Rica at Soldier Field in Chicago.