DAVID SMITH - Tuesday, March 29, 2016
Andi Herzog is on the cusp of leading the USA back to the Olympics, however the team will need to hold on to a narrow aggregate advantage over South American side Colombia.
The first game of the two-legged tie on Friday in Barranquilla saw Herzog's men hold on for a hard-fought 1-1 draw. Former Real Salt Lake attacker Luis Gil struck early, and a 68th-minute penalty by Juan Fernando Quintero was the only blood which Colombia was able to extract after a nonstop barrage.
With away goals counting as the tiebreaker in the case of equal aggregate scores, Gil's tally gives the team a narrow, albeit precarious advantage over their foes heading into the return leg in Toyota Stadium in Frisco, Texas.
Any win or a scoreless draw will send the American through, while an outright victory by Colombia or a drawn score with 2 or more goals by either team will see Los Cafeteros earn their spot in this summer's Olympic games in Rio.
The Americans are reporting no injury problems, with keeper Ethan Horvath having recovered quickly from the minor injury that forced his exit from Friday's contest. This gives Herzog the full arsenal of players at hand and available for selection.
Colombia has made one change to their roster, with midfielder Guillermo Celis, who made his senior debut just days before, replacing forward Rafael Santos Borré, who suffered an injury in Friday's game.