USA U-23s Fall Just Short of Olympic Qualification

USA lose to Colombia with Olympic berth on the line

Image: TFV Media/AP

Another sad day for US Soccer, as they failed to qualify for the Olympics for the second consecutive cycle. This group went 0 for 2 on games to secure qualification. They failed the first time against Honduras, but got a second chance to redeem themselves against Colombia. Once again, they fell short in their bid.

The opening leg down in Colombia went well enough, snagging an away goal in the 1-1 draw. Despite going up early, the team tired later in the match, which the team withstood well enough. That got the team back to home turf for the return leg, or so it seemed. The second leg actually turned out to be more of a home field advantage for the Colombians, with the stadium covered in yellow jerseys.

A win or a 0-0 draw would have been enough to send the US to the Olympics. The draw option was dashed in the 30th minute when Colombia got a goal from Roger Martinez. That was the only goal in the first half, going into halftime with the same 1-0 scoreline. The US came out reinvigorated after halftime, renewing their attack on the Colombians. They got a break just before the hour mark when an Emerson Hyndman long ball into the box was headed into the goal by a Colombian defender. The own goal evened the score and gave the Americans some new hope.

That did not last long though. Following a flurry on the other end, Colombia was put ahead once again. Martinez was once again the goal scorer as he got on the end of an errant shot to put it powerfully in the back of the net. The goal meant that the US needed a win and at least 2 more goals to clinch a spot in Rio. The wheels came off the wagon for the US however, as Luis Gil was sent off after receiving a second yellow card.

Playing a man down, needing 2 goals is a near impossible task, and it was for the US. Matt Miazga was sent off with a straight red card after bumping a Colombian attacker just outside the box. The US finished the match with 9 men, ending their Olympic dreams down in Texas. The result was another cycle without Olympic participation for this generation.

After putting so much stock into qualifying for the Olympics, Jurgen Klinsmann will have to reevaluate the youth programs once again. That makes two cycles in a row without making the Olympics, a detriment to the development program introduced by Klinsmann. But for now, it is back to the drawing board, while focusing on World Cup qualification.

 

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About the author: Dominic Habjan

 

I am a contributor to SoccerPro’s blogs, and truly enjoy writing about the World’s Game. I support Sporting KC, US National Team, and Slovenian National Team. I follow the Premier League but don’t necessarily have a favorite club. I am an avid sports fan, but prefer college to professional leagues in every sport with exception to soccer. I love the Mizzou Tigers, KC Royals, and KC Chiefs. Outside sports I enjoy movies, music, and musical theatre.

Website: https://www.soccerpro.com

 

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