U.S. U-23s Fall to Colombia, Fail to Qualify for Rio Olympics



The United States U-23 Men's National Team fell to Colombia, 2-1, on the night, and 3-2 on aggregate, as they failed to qualify for the 2016 Olympics.

Heading into the second leg in Frisco, TX, the Yanks knew a goalless draw, or any variety of win, would be enough to see them through to Rio. Unfortunately for the U.S., the Colombians knew this as well and from the opening whistle Colombia dominated possession. U.S. keeper Ethan Horvath kept the Stars and Stripes in it early with a couple big saves, but there was nothing he could do on Colombia's opening goal. A failed clearance attempt from Desevio Payne, who had a brutal game, led to a Colombian shot that was turned in by Roger Martinez.

The U.S. failed to record a shot on goal, but were somehow back on level terms in the 58th minute. A cross into the Colombian goal box was headed by a defender over the outstretched hands of the keeper and in to send the Toyota Stadium crowd into a frenzy.

The celebrations were short lived, however. Seven minutes later, Martinez trapped the ball in the heart of the 18-yard box and turned quickly, shaking center back Tim Parker and firing past Horvath to restore the Colombian advantage. At 2-1, the U.S. would have needed to score twice to advance to Rio.

But things only got worse for the Americans. Friday’s goal scorer, Luis Gil, entered the game in the 67th minute and within 10 minutes had picked up two yellow cards and was sent off. And as time wound down, center back Matt Miazga brought down a Colombian player just outside of the U.S. box and was shown a straight red card, leaving the Yanks to bow out of the playoff with only nine men remaining.

It was a disappointing result but no less than the team's performance deserved. Shockingly bad touches in the defensive third provided several turnovers and nervy moments in the back ensued throughout the match. The team showed no ability to attack with any menace, and even set pieces turned into scrambles back to defend the goal. Striker Jordan Morris was isolated up top and couldn't get many touches without dropping deep for Andi Herzog's side.

The U.S. fails to qualify for two straight Olympics for the first time in half a century.


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