USA U-23s fall short of Rio, lose to Colombia in Olympic playoff
The U.S. Under-23 men's national team took care of business in Colombia, but the confines of home weren't enough to punch a ticket to the 2016 Summer Olympics.
After a 1-1 draw in Barranquilla on Friday, the Americans took to the field at Toyota Stadium in Frisco, Texas, Tuesday night with a precious away goal in their possession, but that evaporated within 30 minutes, and Colombia seized the last berth in Rio with a 2-1 win on the night, 3-2 on aggregate. It marks the second straight Olympics in which the U.S. will not participate, with its last appearance coming in Beijing in 2008.
Roger Martinez scored twice for Colombia, sandwiching an own goal in the second half that briefly gave the U.S. new life.
Martinez opened the scoring in the 30th, redirecting a shot from Andres Roa while he was stationed by the far post. It was a goal that had been coming for the visitors, who controlled the run of play during a physical match. Despite not being able to challenge much in the attack, the U.S. equalized the match and aggregate total in the 59th minute, when Emerson Hyndman's ball into the Colombia box was inadvertently headed into Los Cafeteros' goal by Deiver Machado.
That reprieve was short-lived, though, as Machado made up for his gaffe by assisting Martinez for his second in the 64th minute. That goal meant that the U.S. needed two goals to go through, as Colombia took over the away-goal tiebreaker edge.
The physical and emotional nature of the match then bubbled over. Luis Gil, who scored the USA's goal in Colombia but began Tuesday as a substitute, saw two yellow cards in his 10 minutes on the field in the second half and was sent off–with the second appearing to be a product of simulation by his opponent. The U.S. finished with nine men, as Matt Miazga was given a straight red in the waning minutes for tripping up Cristian Borja and denying an obvious goal-scoring opportunity.
CONCACAF will be represented by Mexico, the defending gold medal winner; and Honduras, the team that beat the U.S. in the automatic qualification game in Utah during the region's tournament.
Host Brazil, Colombia, Argentina, Germany, Portugal, Sweden, Denmark, Fiji, Iraq, Japan, South Korea, Nigeria, Algeria and South Africa make up the remainder of the 16-team field.
Here's how the match unfolded:
GOALKEEPERS: Cody Cropper (Milton Keynes Dons), Ethan Horvath (Molde), Tyler Miller (Seattle Sounders FC)
DEFENDERS: Kellyn Acosta (FC Dallas), Matt Miazga (Chelsea FC), Eric Miller (Colorado Rapids), Tim Parker (Vancouver Whitecaps FC), Desevio Payne (FC Groningen), Shane O'Neill (Cambridge United), Brandon Vincent (Chicago Fire), Walker Zimmerman (FC Dallas)
MIDFIELDERS: Fatai Alashe (San Jose Earthquakes), Paul Arriola (Club Tijuana), Luis Gil (Queretaro), Julian Green (Bayern Munich), Emerson Hyndman (Fulham FC), Jerome Kiesewetter (VfB Stuttgart), Matt Polster (Chicago Fire), Dillon Serna (Colorado Rapids), Wil Trapp (Columbus Crew SC)
FORWARDS: Jordan Morris (Seattle Sounders FC), Mario Rodriguez (Borussia Monchengladbach), Khiry Shelton (New York City FC)
GOALKEEPERS: Alvaro Montero (San Lorenzo), Cristian Bonilla (Atletico Nacional), Luis Hurtado (Deportivo Cali)
DEFENDERS: Jherson Vergara (Livorno), Cristian Borja (Santa Fe), Jaine Barreiro (Santa Fe), Luis Orejuela (Deportivo Cal), Felipe Aguilar (Atletico Nacional), Davinson Sanchez (Atletico Nacional), Yerry Mina (Santa Fe), Deiver Machado (Millonarios), Helibelton Palacios (Deportivo Cali)
MIDFIELDERS: Juan Pablo Nieto (Atletico Nacional), Andres Felipe Roa (Deportivo Cali), Juan Fernando Quintero (Rennes, France), Yony Gonzalez (Junior), Jose Leudo (Deportivo Pasto), Wilmar Barrios (Deportes Tolima), Jarlan Barrera (Junior), Guillermo Celis (Junior)
FORWARDS: Andres Renteria (Santos Laguna), Roger Martinez (Racing Club, Argentina), Cristian Dajome (Deportes Tolima), Harold Preciado (Deportivo Cali)