It’s admirable that the U.S. men’s national team wanted to schedule a pair of world soccer heavyweights to prepare for this summer’s Copa América on home soil. The risk, of course, was getting embarrassed in the process.

That’s exactly how Saturday’s 5-1 loss to Colombia in the Americans’ first pre-Copa tuneup match played out.  In front of a large, mostly pro-Cafeteros crowd in Landover, Maryland, the visitors took an early lead and never really looked back.

Jhon Arias scored by taking advantage of a defensive miscue by the U.S. before six minutes had elapsed, and Rafael Santos Borré doubled his country’s advantage before the first half had even reached the midway point.

Colombia scored three more times in the final quarter-hour to complete the rout after Tim Weah had provided the only bright spot all evening for the U.S. Weah briefly cut the deficit to 2-1 with a well-taken goal early in the second half.

“I think everybody needs to look in the mirror after that game,” U.S. keeper Matt Turner told broadcaster TNT afterward. “It’s really, really disappointing in front of such a great crowd, so I want to apologize to the fans as well. Because that’s not what we’re about. And yeah, we need to bounce back in a big way.”

The U.S. won’t have much time to dwell on the lopsided defeat with an even more daunting opponent, five-time World Cup champion Brazil, looming in its next preparation game on Wednesday in Orlando, Florida.

Play of the game

Santos Borré’s strike was a worthy game-winner. A defection following a Colombian corner kick saw the ball ping pong around the penalty area before eventually falling to the forward unmarked with his back to Turner’s goal. Santos Borré’ leaped into the air and executed a close-range bicycle kick that left Turner little time to react:

Turning point

Arias’s opener set the tone early when he pounced on an attempted Antonee Robinson clearance, danced past Robinson’s Fulham teammate Tim Ream and beat Turner at his near post. It was the worst possible start for the U.S. Even at that stage, there was a feeling that this might not be the Americans’ day:

Key stat

With a 53-47 possession advantage, the U.S. had the majority of the ball after falling behind. They weren’t efficient with it, though, as the visitors outshot them 15-10, including a 6-2 advantage in on-target attempts.

What’s next for the USMNT?

Oh, nothing special — just the most celebrated international team of all time. With a 1W-18L-0 record versus Brazil, it’s a matchup nightmare for the U.S. The Americans have lost 11 straight meeting since their lone victory over the Seleção all the way back in 1998.

Still, the U.S. can’t be much worse on Wednesday, right? Result aside, Gregg Berhalter’s team was more rusty and/or sloppy for most of the way on Saturday as opposed to downright terrible. All five goals against came as a result of mistakes that, in theory at least, are preventable.

It was a humiliating and embarrassing loss nonetheless, to be sure. Saturday’s harsh lesson could still serve the Copa hosts well when the tournament arrives, especially if they get another crack at Colombia in the knockout stage. If you’re going to lose 5-1, it better be in game that doesn’t count.

“Obviously, it’s a learning experience for all of the boys and myself tonight.,” Weah said. “But I’m ready to go again. I’m ready to face another good opponent. I’m ready to bounce back.”

What’s next for Colombia?

One more dress rehearsal, next weekend against Bolivia in West Hartford, Connecticut, where Los Cafeteros will attempt to extend their unbeaten streak to 23 games. The Colombians kick off their Copa América slate with Paraguay on June 24 in Houston.

Doug McIntyre is a soccer writer for FOX Sports. Before joining FOX Sports in 2021, he was a staff writer with ESPN and Yahoo Sports and he has covered the United States men’s and women’s national teams at multiple FIFA World Cups. Follow him at @ByDougMcIntyre.

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