For the second consecutive Summer Olympic Games, the United States Under-23 National Team will not be present. Colombia dominated the Yanks in every aspect and they were able to win the second leg of the CONCACAF-CONMEBOL Olympic Qualifying playoff 2-1 on Tuesday at Toyota Stadium in Frisco, Texas.
The South Americans defeated the USA 3-2 on aggregate, and Los Cafeteros are heading to their first Olympic Games since 1992 in Spain. This is the first time in 48 years that the United States failed to qualify for consecutive Olympics.
Colombia Dominates The Yanks
When referee Ravshan Irmatov ended the game, it was no surprise that the Colombians were heading to Rio. From the very start of the match, Los Cafeteros came at the Yanks and were searching for the goal to eliminate the Americans' road goal advantage from leg one last Friday. Regardless that the Stars and Stripes were the home team, it was clear that the Colombians were more than comfortable to run their offense at full speed in Frisco.
Once again the South Americans won the battle of possession on Tuesday. Even though it was by a smaller margin than in game one in Barranquilla, Los Cafeteros were still in complete control of the match. Their midfield physically over powered the Yanks and moved the ball rapidly around them. Within a few minutes of the match the U.S. midfield became non-existent.
The offense of Colombia was able to create 15 shots, with six placed on target. If it was not for U.S. goalkeeper Ethan Horvath making four saves the match might have been over sooner. The United States were only able to muster up four shots, and none of them were on target.
Los Cafeteros Finally Break Through
When the Colombians scored in the 30th minute, the main surprise was that it took so long. US defenders Matt Miazga and Desevio Payne assisted in the goal by making two mistakes. First, both failed to clear the ball out of the penalty box as it rolled to midfielder Andrés Roa, who fired a shot heading out of bounds.
Payne and Miazga then failed to notice where they were standing and kept Colombian forward Roger Martínez onside. The striker placed himself right in front of the goal next to the right hand post. Roa's shot went directly into his path and Martínez simply redirected the shot with his foot to give Colombia the 1-0 lead in the 30th minute.
With that goal, the South Americans were now one step closer to Rio, since they also went ahead 2-1 on aggregate. Colombia kept on pressing for that second goal before halftime arrived. However, the United States were able to hold on and not allow Los Cafeteros to build on their lead.
The Yanks at the break managed to regroup and started the second half with some confidence. However, the South Americans were not backing down themselves as both nations were running down the field in the early stages.
A Moment Of Hope For The USA
The U.S. received a big break in the 57th minute from Colombian defender Deiver Machado. U.S. midfielder Emerson Hyndman sent a long and high ball into the box, searching for substitute forward Jerome Kiesewetter.
However, the wind slowed down the ball and allowed Machado to clear it with his head. The defender failed to put the ball over the crossbar. Instead, the ball floated over his goalkeeper Cristian Bonilla and into the net to level the United States 1-1.
Colombia Quickly Crushes The Yanks' Dreams Of Rio
The aggregate was 2-2 and now both countries just needed one more goal to advance to Rio. However, the U.S. failed to capitalize on the Colombian own goal. Instead of creating more opportunities they began to bunker in again. Thus, the South Americans retook the lead seven minutes later with Martínez burying the ball into the back of net to make it 2-1 in the 64th minute.
Los Cafeteros took a 3-2 lead on aggregate and now had the away goal advantage on their side. Thus, the United States now had to score two goals in less than 30 minutes to win the match.
The United States Lets Their Frustration Win Out
Instead of rising to the occasion, the Yanks simply fell apart as two players were sent off after conceding the second goal. Luis Gil had only entered the match in the 67th minute and exactly 10 minutes later he picked up his second yellow, and was sent to the locker room.
In the 90th minute Mizaga received the US' second red card, when he was forced to take down substitute Cristián Borja. The Colombian defender was on a breakaway with no one in front of him but the American goalkeeper. Mizaga was able to catch up to Borja and bring him down before he was able to take the shot, getting a straight red to leave the Americans with nine players on the pitch at the game's conclusion.
The Colombians' 2-1 lead proved to be enough as they secured their place in Rio this August. The United States will now have to wait until the 2019 CONCACAF Men’s Olympic Qualifications Championship to attempt to end the streak of not qualifying for the Olympics.