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Colorado Rapids midfielder Kellyn Acosta coming into form for USMNT

Acosta earns praise for gritty play during fever-paced Colombia - USA friendly. Peru is next.

John A. Babiak - @Photog_JohnB

Quiet Kellyn Acosta is a head-down, hard-working true central midfielder that loves competition. He owns his spot in the Colorado Rapids starting XI and is now aiming to do the same with the emerging new U.S. Men’s National Team.

With all the potential youthful talent in this group of Yanks, he has his work cut out for him. This past Thursday (October 11th), before an energized crowd in Tampa’s Raymond James Stadium and a national television audience, Acosta made it known that he is all business. Earning his 20th cap and another start, his gritty play and fast pace against a formidable Colombia side earned him plenty of praise from his both his fans and mentors. He may have played his best ever match with Team USA.

“I think Kellyn, on balance, had a good night,” said Interim USMNT Head Coach Dave Sarachan. “If I were to be a little critical, and I think he would agree, in the first half, there were some simple passes that I didn’t think he did great with. In the second half, I think he did a lot better with that. Kellyn has a great engine and I think he worked his way into the match and did pretty well.”

With his team down 1-0 at the start of the second half, Acosta raced from distance and perfectly timed Antonee Robinson loop from his left that deflected off of Colombian national Dávinson Sánchez’s head and right into the path of the oncoming Acosta. Acosta volleyed the ball right into the back of the net, tying the game 1-1. The goal was his second with the senior national team.

“I saw the ball going out wide to Antonee and there was only one guy in the box, so I thought maybe I’d make a late run and the ball would come to me,” Acosta said during the post-match press conference. “I read the flick off one of the center backs and I thought if I could beat the outside backs to the ball, I had a good chance to put the ball on frame.”

Feeding off of the fan’s energy, he went on to give the Los Cafeteros grief with his defensive play, forcing turnover after turnover, including one in the U.S. box that led to Bobby Wood’s 1-on-2 goal that set the crowd off again.

Unfortunately, the USA finished down on their luck 4-2 that night. “The back-and-forth game was kind of tough,” Acosta stated after the match. “At that point in the game, we had heavy legs and we were chasing the game. Spacing was a little bit off and once we lost the ball and they counterattacked. It didn’t suit us. The game got stretched and we had to do a lot more running than we had hoped.”

Rapids fans can expect to see much more Acosta’s compelling play and effort to become a fixture on the USMNT roster in the very near future. The U.S. Men’s National Team’s 2018 “Kickoff Series” continues with a match against FIFA 21st-ranked Peru on Tuesday, October 16th, at Pratt & Whitney Stadium at Rentschler Field in East Hartford, Connecticut.

Check out a few shots from the match in the photo gallery below: