After two wins over South Africa in September, the US Women’s National Team returns to action with two international friendlies against Colombia in Sandy, Utah and San Diego. The teams meet Oct. 26 at America First Field in Sandy (9 p.m. ET / 7 p.m. MT on TBS, Max, Universo and Peacock) before trading the Rockies for the beaches of Southern California when they meet again on Oct. 29. at Snapdragon Stadium in San Diego (5:30 p.m. ET / 2:30 p.m. PT on TNT, Max, Telemundo, Universo, Peacock and FDP Radio) in a game presented by AT&T 5G.
Learn more about the USWNT’s upcoming foe with five things to know about Colombia.
A magical rush
Colombia return to action in their first internationals after a historic run at the 2023 Women’s World Cup that saw Las Cafeteras reach the quarterfinals for the first time in program history. Colombia played their third ever Women’s World Cup match and first since 2015. Colombia opened Group H play with a 2-0 win over Korea led by Catalina Usme and rising star Linda Caicedo.
Colombia continued their momentum into the second group stage and pulled off one of the biggest upsets in Women’s World Cup history, defeating the German powerhouse 2-1. Caicedo put Colombia ahead with a fine strike in the 52nd minute before Alexandra Popp equalized for the Germans, who entered the match ranked second in the world, in the 89th minute. Colombia then scored in the seventh minute of second half stoppage time when defender Manuela Vanegas scored the winning goal to secure one of the biggest wins in program history.
Despite losing to Morocco 1-0 on the final day of the group stage, six points were enough for Colombia to win Group H and send Las Cafeteras through to the last 16 for the second time in the competition’s history. There, Colombia beat Jamaica 1-0 in the round of 16, with Usme scoring the only goal of the game in the 51st minute.
Having already secured their best ever Women’s World Cup finish, Colombia’s run to the quarter-finals came to an end when they fell to second-placed England 2-1 in front of a sell-out crowd at Australia Stadium. Midfielder Leicy Santos gave Colombia a 1-0 lead in the 44th minute, but Lauren Hemp equalized for England late in first-half stoppage time and Alessia Russo scored the winner for the Lionesses in the 63rd minute to end Colombia’s remarkable run.
WITHIN THE PERSONNEL
Colombia’s roster for this October match against the United States includes 19 players from the 2023 World Cup squad, including goalscorers Caicedo, Vanegas and Santos.
While the vast majority of the World Cup roster returns, notably absent is Usme, the nation’s all-time leading scorer, who will miss those games through injury. Goalkeeper Catalina Perez, who started all five of Colombia’s matches in Australia and New Zealand, and World Cup teammates Mayra Ramirez and Diana Ospina are unavailable through injury.
There is also a significant change in the sideline as Angela Marsiglia takes over from former Colombia coach Nelson Abadia. Marsiglia served as an assistant under Abadia at the 2023 World Cup, effectively coaching Colombia’s group stage opening win over Korea while Abadia was serving a suspension.
Of the 23 players Marsiglia have called up for this match against the USA, defender Carolina Arias has the most experience with 104 caps for her country. Five players are in double figures in international goals, led by Lady Andrade, who has 17 goals in her 65 caps.
Santos has 15 goals in 66 caps while Caicedo, with 12 goals in 25 caps, is averaging nearly a goal every two games played in his young international career. Veteran midfielder and captain Daniela Montoya has 10 goals in 86 caps, while Vanegas has 10 goals in 40 caps, including a crucial header against Germany at the World Cup.
COLOMBIAN NATIONAL SOCCER TEAM by position
Goalkeepers (3): Natalia Giraldo (America de Cali), Stefany Castaño (Club Independiente Santa Fe), Sandra Sepulveda (Independiente Medellin)
Defenders (8): Daniela Arias (America de Cali), Carolina Arias (Club Independiente Santa Fe), Angela Baron (Atlético Nacional), Jorelyn Carabali (Brighton & Hove Albion, ENG), Daniela Caracas (RCD Espanyol, ESP), Ana Maria Guzman (FC Bayern Munich, Germany), Monica Ramos (Gremio, BRA), Manuela Vanegas (Real Sociedad, ESP)
Midfielders (6): Lorena Bedoya (Real Brasilia FC, BRA), Gabriela Huertas (Club Independiente Santa Fe), Daniela Montoya (Atlético Nacional), Marcela Restrepo (Atlético Nacional), Camila Reyes (Club Independiente Santa Fe), Leicy Santos ( Atletico Madrid, ESP)
Forwards (6): Lady Andrade (Real Brasilia FC, BRA), Elexa Bahr (America de Cali), Linda Caicedo (Real Madrid CF, ESP), Ivonne Chacon (Valencia CF, ESP), Yisela Cuesta (Ferroviária, BRA), Ingrid Guerra (Clube Atlético Mineiro, BRA)
THE GROWTH OF THE GAME
Colombia enters these games against the United States ranked 22nd in the FIFA World Rankings, tied for the top spot in the nation in women’s soccer.
A sign of the growth of the women’s game in Colombia and the talent of its players, 12 players on the list play professionally outside their home country, five in Brazil, five in Spain and one each in England and Germany. Of the 12 players competing for clubs outside of Colombia, 10 are in their 20s or younger, including 18-year-olds in Caicedo, who signed with Real Madrid in February 2023, and defender Ana Maria Guzman, who signed with Bayern. Munich earlier in September.
Caicedo and Guzman both represented Colombia at the 2022 FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup in India and helped Colombia reach the final where they fell to Spain 1-0 after a late own goal. Despite the heartbreaking finish, it marked Colombia’s best-ever finish at the Women’s World Youth Championship and served as a coming-out party for Caicedo, who won the Silver Ball as the tournament’s second-best overall player as well as the Bronze Boot, finishing with four goals in the tournament. Both players were also part of Colombia’s squad for the U-20 World Cup in Costa Rica earlier that summer, where Colombia won their group before falling to South American Brazil 1-0 in the quarter-finals.
STANDING HISTORY: USA vs. COLOMBIA
Colombia and the United States have played 10 times previously, with the United States holding a 9W-1D-0L advantage overall in the series. Four of the past 10 meetings between the USA and Colombia have come at World Cups – played twice at the World Cup and twice at the Olympics. The only tie between these teams came in the group stage of the 2016 Summer Olympics, a 2-2 draw against Las Cafeteras on August 9, 2016.
Since that game in Brazil, the United States and Colombia have played four more times, all in friendlies. The teams played twice in January 2021 in the United States’ first home games since play resumed following the COVID-19 pandemic, with the United States winning 4-0 and 6-0 in Orlando, Florida.
The teams last met in June 2022 in the USA’s final games for the Concacaf W Championship, where they qualified for both the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup and the 2024 Summer Olympics. The U.S. opened the two-game set with a 3-0 victory June 25 in Commerce City, Colo., powered by a brace from Colorado native Sophia Smith. The teams then traveled to Sandy, Utah, where the United States won 2-0 on June 28 after an own goal and a late strike from defender Kelley O’Hara.
Overall, the U.S. has won its last 15 games against CONMEBOL opponents, with wins against Brazil (5), Colombia (4), Chile (3), Paraguay (2) and Argentina (1) in that span. During the 15-game winning streak, the USA has won its CONMEBOL competition 61-5 and has kept a clean sheet in 12 of the last 13 games.
ROAD TO PARIS
Like the United States, Colombia has already secured a spot at the 2024 Summer Olympics in Paris. Colombia qualified for the Olympics, the third overall in program history, last summer thanks to a second-place finish at the 2022 Copa America Feminina, which Colombia hosted.
In the tournament, which sent three teams directly to the 2023 Women’s World Cup and the top two to the 2024 Olympics, Colombia won Group A by sweeping all four matches. Colombia then defeated Argentina 1-0 in the crucial semi-final before falling to rivals and long-time South American power Brazil 1-0 in the championship.
Colombia made its Olympic debut in London 2012, where it was drawn in Group G with the USA, France and Korea DPR. Colombia went winless in the group, falling to North Korea 2-0, the United States 3-0 — the game in which Lady Andrade punched Wambach in the face with the ball, an indiscretion caught on video that led to a two-game suspension for the Colombian star — and France narrowly lost 1-0. At the 2016 Rio Olympics, Colombia were once again drawn in the same group as the United States and France, although this time they picked up their first point in Olympic play with a 2–2 draw against the United States while losing their other two games against France. (4-0) and New Zealand (1-0).