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Players on US men’s soccer team give Commanders Field mixed reviews after hosting Colombia friendly

LANDOVER, MARYLAND - JUNE 08: A general view following a match between the United States and Colombia at Commanders Field on June 08, 2024 in Landover, Maryland. (Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images)
A general view following a match between the United States and Colombia at Commanders Field on June 8, 2024, in Landover, Maryland. (Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images)
LANDOVER, MARYLAND - JUNE 08: A general view during a match between the United States and Colombia at Commanders Field on June 08, 2024 in Landover, Maryland. (Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images)
A general view during a match between the United States and Colombia at Commanders Field on June 8, 2024, in Landover, Maryland. (Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images)
Colombia midfielder Jhon Arias, center with orange cleats, celebrates with his teammates after his goal against the United States during the first half of an international friendly soccer match Saturday, June 8, 2024, in Landover, Md. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)
Colombia midfielder Jhon Arias, center with orange cleats, celebrates with his teammates after his goal against the United States during the first half of an international friendly soccer match Saturday, June 8, 2024, in Landover, Md. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)
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LANDOVER, MARYLAND - JUNE 08: A general view following a match between the United States and Colombia at Commanders Field on June 08, 2024 in Landover, Maryland. (Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images)
LANDOVER, MARYLAND - JUNE 08: A general view during a match between the United States and Colombia at Commanders Field on June 08, 2024 in Landover, Maryland. (Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images)
Colombia midfielder Jhon Arias, center with orange cleats, celebrates with his teammates after his goal against the United States during the first half of an international friendly soccer match Saturday, June 8, 2024, in Landover, Md. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)

Players on the United States men’s national team gave a mixed assessment of Commanders Field after losing 5-1 against Colombia in an international soccer friendly Saturday.

In its first game in the , the U.S. played in front of 55,494 people in Landover, Maryland, with many wearing yellow jerseys in support of the visitors.

In his postgame press conference, U.S. head coach Gregg Berhalter said D.C. has “a historical connection” to the sport and complimented the atmosphere provided by the majority pro-Colombian crowd.

“The venue was great,” he said. “The pitch was great. Everything was really good, and it’s a great area for soccer.”

However, not everyone agreed with his assessment of the playing surface. Players could be seen losing traction and slipping on parts of the field after it received treatment at halftime. Commanders Field’s playing surface, which was renovated in 2021, has long received criticism from NFL players for its poor quality.

When asked about the field conditions, captain Christian Pulisic called it “not the best pitch” for his sport. He quickly added that it did not play a role in the result.

Outside the play on the field, what did play a small role in the final score was the significant Colombian support.

Before the match, Matt Turner and Chris Richards both told WTOP they were interested in the makeup of the crowd, as it would give the U.S. preparation for this summer’s Copa America tournament and the 2026 men’s World Cup.

Fans flooded the parking lots outside Commanders Field hours before the match, bringing a party-like atmosphere filled with barbecue and dance music before kickoff.

Inside, fans sitting in the lower bowl tossed multiple beach balls during the first half. As the score line grew wider, chants of (translated to “USA, Colombia is your daddy”) rang louder until the referee blew the final whistle.

“I’m very happy to see so many Colombians away from our country,” Colombian midfielder Richard Ríos told WTOP in Spanish. “We feel like we are at home and well supported playing here. That brings us real happiness.”

Tim Weah, who scored the U.S.’s lone goal, called the large Colombian support “unfortunate,” adding it creates a type of adversity players face way too often when playing at home.

“I feel like every time we play a big team, we’re the away team,” Weah said. “It’s hard to only gain momentum from us as teammates. Sometimes, we need our fans and sometimes, it just feels like we’re kind of alone out there.”

The U.S. men’s team has dealt with attendance issues in locations with access for large immigrant populations to attend matches. It has caused U.S. supporters to be largely outnumbered by fans of the visitors.

During previous World Cup qualifying cycles, the U.S. Soccer Federation would schedule its matches in smaller cities and stadiums for American fans to provide more home support.

Defender Antonee Robinson said while the crowd in Landover wasn’t as hostile as other fanbases, feeling like visitors while playing at home is something they will have to get reacclimated to.

“We know South American teams’ fans travel well,” Robinson said. “We can expect the same thing in Copa America and it’s just something we’ve got to deal with.”

Berhalter echoed similar sentiments, saying the U.S. provides opportunities for people of different cultures the chance to cheer for their native country.

“The Colombian Americans that are living in the United States, they don’t get to Colombia all the time and see their team. And this is a great opportunity for them to come out,” Berhalter said. “That’s what makes America special, opportunities like this.”

The Landover venue is scheduled to host one more international friendly this summer as reigning men’s World Cup champions Argentina, featuring superstar Lionel Messi, takes on Guatemala on Friday.

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José Umaña

José Umaña is a digital editor for WTOP. He’s been working as a journalist for almost a decade, covering local news, education and sports. His work has appeared in The Prince George’s Sentinel, The Montgomery Sentinel, Orlando Sentinel, PressBox and The Diamondback.

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