Copa America Centenario
Friday 3rd June 2016
Kick off 18.30 Actual 18.40
U.S.A. 0 Colombia 2, attendance 67,439
8′ 0-1 C. Zapata
42′ 0-2 J. Rodriguez (pen)
@ Levi’s Stadium
4900, Marie P. De Bartolo Way
Santa Clara, CA 95054
Admission $74 + $13.75 fees, Print at home ticket.
An early flight from Los Angeles, courtesy of American Airlines, saw me land at San Jose airport nice and early and checked into my hotel shortly after 11am. With the temperature in the 90’s it meant the hotel pool was soon getting its use before going for lunch. No need for car hire here as the stadium is well served by the VTA (Valley Transportation Authority) with regular trains running from a stop around 300 yards from my hotel. A bargain price of $4 return and you stop right outside the stadium. It was well organised after the match, which meant I managed to get on the second train heading back south.
This was the first time I had been to a Continental Championship, so wasn’t sure what it would be like, but as everyone knows, the United States certainly know how to run an event. This tournament is to celebrate 100 years of the Copa America and is slotted in as an extra, being held outside South America for the first time. It is normally held every 4 years, Chile having won the last one as hosts in 2015. As well as being the first match of the tournament it doubled as the opening ceremony.
The Levi’s Stadium, which opened in 2014, is home to San Francisco 49ers of the N.F.L. and is situated about 40 miles south of San Francisco. Despite the giant screens showing the match as a sell out, it was short of the 68,500 capacity and the empty seats certainly backed that up.
It was a really good atmosphere, the Colombians probably having a 60-40 split of the support. U.S.A. contained a number of players with experience in the Premier League in England, namely Brad Guzan, Geoff Cameron and DeAndre Yedlin, with perhaps the best known being Clint Dempsey, now at Seattle Sounders. Michael Bradley and Jermaine Jones have also played a few games in England. Colombia had a couple with Premier League experience, Arsenal reserve ‘keeper David Ospina and Juan Cuadrado, who failed to make an impression at Chelsea, but probably their two best known were James Rodriguez and Carlos Bacca, who ply their trade at Real Madrid and A.C. Milan, respectively. The game was pretty much over once Colombia went in front and the second half was a stroll in the park for them. U.S.A. did plenty of running, but just didn’t have any creativity to make an impression.