KENYA BROWN - Wednesday, March 30, 2016
The U.S. Under-23 national team failed to capitalize on their away goal advantage Tuesday night as they fell 2-1 to Colombia in Frisco, Texas.
The loss, which put the score 3-2 on aggregate, means that the team will not be going to the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio Janeiro, Brazil, the second straight Olympic qualification failure.
U.S. national head coach Jurgen Klinsmann had stressed for a long time that it was vital for the U-23s to qualify for the Olympics, and his right-hand man Andi Herzog was placed in charge of the team to accomplish the task. However, the youngsters underperformed in the penultimate game against a strong Colombian side.
Colombia erased the home side's advantage at the half hour mark in the first half when Roger Martinez deflected an attempt from teammate Andres Roa, after they had made their way down the right side of the U.S. defense.
Despite being down a goal after halftime, the U.S. would find themselves back in the game in the 59th minute when Colombian defender Delver Machado headed the ball past his own goalkeeper as he tried to clear a pass from U.S. midfielder Emerson Hyndman.
However, it did not take long for the Colombians to retake the lead as Martinez scored his second goal on the night in the 64th minute as he got past Tim Parker and put his shot past Ethan Horvath.
Things went from bad to worse for the U.S. when Luis Gil, the goal scorer in the first leg, received his marching orders from Uzbek referee Ravshan Irmatov in the 77th minute. Gil had first received a yellow card for a foul on Wilmer Barrios. He would argue with Irmatov who then showed a second yellow, ending his night.
The U.S. would play with nine men later on after defender Matt Miazga was shown a red card in the 90th minute for fouling Christian Borga just outside the penalty area.
The failure to qualify for the Olympics for a second straight time will have the U.S. going back to the drawing board to figure out plans to qualify for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, Japan.