Colombia were always going to present a far greater test than Guatemala for Lionel Scaloni’s young Argentina side and while there wasn’t the same excitement from last Friday, La Albiceleste competed well to claim a useful draw in New Jersey.
A lack of creativity and attacking purpose led to a rather bland friendly but there were promising individual performances once more and a cohesion that provides a foundation from which to build going forward.
During another bright opening 45 minutes, Argentina were the better side against a strong Colombian side, adapting to life after José Pékerman, and twice in the opening few minutes goalkeeper David Ospina was tested. First, the impressive Exequiel Palacios from distance and then River Plate wideman Gonzalo Martínez, cutting in from the left.
Mauro Icardi, experienced another frustrating evening starved of service in an Argentina shirt, but did have a small sight of goal during this period of Argentinian superiority. Nicolás Tagliafico slipped him in behind but from a tight angle, Ospina was able to save with his legs.
The one real chance at the other end came courtesy of a shot from outside the box by Radamel Falcao but Franco Armani was down quickly to tip it around the post as the goalless first half closed with Giovani Lo Celso flashing an effort just wide.
As was the case on Friday in Los Angeles, the game lost its way somewhat after the break with both sides making substitutions. However, as Colombia increased their threat, Franco Armani reminded those that harshly judge him on one World Cup game that he is an excellent goalkeeper. One strong stop to deny Luis Muriel and another important intervention to prevent Carlos Bacca rounding him kept the scores level.
Lionel Scaloni did eventually introduce Paulo Dybala but the Juventus forward was only able to show flashes of his ability during a period of the game in which Argentina had lost any real fluency.
The game petered out to a draw and while it wasn’t a game that will live long in the memory, Lionel Scaloni got a useful look at his squad ahead of the next international break.