The United States responded with two goals in the space of three minutes by Kellyn Acosta and Bobby Wood early in the second half that gave the hosts a 2-1 lead. But Colombia rose to the challenge with goals from Carlos Bacca, Radamel Falcao and Miguel Borja to secure the victory.
"I thought in moments it was good, moments we can do better," said US midfielder Michael Bradley, making his first international appearance since he captained the side that fell to the devastating loss at Trinidad & Tobago one year and one day ago that saw the US miss this year's World Cup in Russia.
"The response at the beginning of the second half was pretty good," Bradley said.
"We let ourselves down a little bit towards the middle of the second half. Obviously they're a good team. They challenge you in different ways and obviously that's what these nights are about.
"It's experience, it's little by little guys understanding what nights like this are like," Bradley said of the learning curve facing caretaker coach Dave Sarachan's young side.
The threats kept coming and the pressure paid off in the 36th when James collected the ball on the right edge of the area and curled a left-footed shot into the far corner of Zack Steffen's net.
James nearly doubled the score five minutes later but his close-range shot was thwarted by a sliding Matthew Miazga.
Wood struck just three minutes later after solid work by Tim Weah on the left side, but the US lead would be short-lived.
Moments later Falcao exited for Borja, who added a final touch with an entertaining overhead kick that Steffen couldn't reel in.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)