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Berhalter slams U.S. players after Colombia mauling: 'Wake-up call'

John Dorton/ISI Photos/USSF / Getty Images Sport / Getty

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United States coach Gregg Berhalter accused his players of lacking respect for Colombia after the South Americans romped to an emphatic 5-1 friendly victory over the Copa America hosts on Saturday.

Berhalter looked on aghast from the sidelines at FedEx Field in Landover, Maryland, as Colombia ruthlessly punished a string of American blunders in a clinical attacking display.

Jhon Arias and Rafael Borre put Colombia 2-0 up inside 19 minutes, and although the US pulled one back from Timothy Weah on 58 minutes, "Los Cafeteros" continued probing incisively and rattled in three more unanswered goals through Richard Rios, Jorge Carrascal and Luis Sinisterra. 

The rout marked the first time the US have conceded five goals in a game since their 5-0 defeat to Mexico in the 2009 CONCACAF Gold Cup final.

The drubbing could have been worse for Berhalter's side, who saw Colombia squander several other goal-scoring chances during the game.

"I'm really disappointed, obviously with the result," Berhalter said. "We're not framing it as a lesson learned, we're framing it as wake-up call. A really poor performance against a top team. 

"If you give a team like that the opportunities that we gave them, you're going to have no chance to win. It's never going to happen. And that's what's really disappointing about the game."

'Not good enough'

Berhalter said while he had been encouraged by aspects of his team's response after falling 2-0 down, "from the 75th minute on, it was, I think, a lack of respect for our opponent, the game of soccer, and what we're doing.

"There were some positive chunks of the game, right. But when I'm looking right now at 5-1, it's not good enough."

Berhalter named a starting line-up comprised entirely of players from Europe's top five leagues as they build towards their Copa America Group C opener against  Bolivia in Dallas on June 23.

Yet Berhalter's line-up was in danger of being overrun in a one-sided start to the game that saw Colombia hit the ground running with wave after wave of attacks.

Arias put the Colombians 1-0 up after just six minutes. Colombia playmaker James Rodriguez attempted to thread a pass through to Arias but instead saw Fulham's Antonee Robinson slide in to make a block.

Robinson's interception, however, fell kindly into the path of Arias, who thumped an emphatic finish into the roof of the net.

The US almost drew level moments later after Robinson picked out Folarin Balogun, whose low shot was cleared off the line by a desperate sliding clearance from Davinson Sanchez.

That, however, was the closest the US came to scoring during the early onslaught, and Colombia were soon threatening again with Mateus Uribe flashing a header wide of the post on 17 minutes.

Borre then showed great instincts to hook in an overhead kick on 19 minutes to give Colombia a 2-0 lead at half-time.

Weah's goal early in the second half after a superb through ball from Balogun gave the US hope.

But the Colombians continued to threaten and looked the more incisive team, and Rios's goal in the 77th minute put them 3-1 ahead.

Colombia then picked off the US with ease in the final minutes, twice stitching together attacks that led to late goals for Carrascal and Sinisterra.

The US continue their preparations for the Copa America, which is being staged across the United States, with a friendly against Brazil on Wednesday.

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