KENYA BROWN - Saturday, March 26, 2016
Luis Gil's early first half goal would be enough as the United States Under-23 national team held on for the tie at Colombia on Friday in the first leg of the Olympic qualifying playoff.
The team now has a favorable chance of booking their ticket to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, for this summer's Olympic Games if they can get a positive result in the second leg on Tuesday in Frisco, Texas.
It may have been hot and humid inside the Metropolitano Roberto Melendez Stadium in Barranquilla, but the visitors could not have asked for a better way to start the game than with a goal in the fifth minute. Gil put the ball in the back of the net as he connected on a cross from teammate Mario Rodriguez.
Jordan Morris could have extended the team's lead, but his effort just missed going into the goal.
The young Americans were able to withstand some pressure from the Colombians for a great deal of time, but that ended in the 68th minute when the home side converted a penalty to level the score. Kellyn Acosta tripped up Rafael Santos Borre, and that allowed Juan Fernando Quintero to step and put away the penalty.
The U-23s now head to the Toyota Stadium in Texas to prep for Tuesday's second leg, where they have a chance to seal their qualification for the Rio Olympics.