Olympic Qualifying

Recap: US U-23 MNT 1–2 Colombia (2–3 on aggregate)

The US U-23 team fell short in its quest to qualify for the Summer Olympics in Rio on Tuesday night, falling 2-1 to Colombia in front of a crowd of 7,998 in Frisco, Texas after finishing the first game of the qualification playoff series 1-1 in Colombia last Friday.

The first half began fairly well for the US, with the defense calmly holding Colombia at bay, but the South Americans had their first shot on goal in the sixth minute, and would build from there. In the 11th, a Colombia free kick caused a scramble in the US box. In the 17th, another free kick led to a header on goal requiring a full-stretch diving save from US goalkeeper Ethan Horvath. And in the 30th, Colombia broke through when a good cross from the Colombia right led to a shot from Andrés Roa. It was headed wide right, but Roger Martínez pounced at the back post to put Colombia ahead on the night and in the tie. The US simply could not generate its own offense, and spent far too much time chasing Colombia around.

Colombia picked up after halftime right where it left off, putting the US under severe pressure, forcing another save from Horvath in the 50th minute, and nearly tucking home after a break in the 51st. Soon after, Tim Parker was lucky to stay on the field when he clearly stamped on a Colombian player. The ref appeared to see the incident, but issued only a yellow card. Other than that, he’d been the best US defender by a mile.

But in the 58th, the US was given a lifeline, when a long ball from Emerson Hyndman was headed up and over the outstretched hand of the Colombian keeper by Deiver Machado in the Colombia back line. The own goal brought the match and the series level.

Colombia nearly equalized moments later, but the US managed to clear. The Colombian pressure was relentless, however, and in the 64th minute Martínez put Colombia ahead again, this time deftly taking a cross out of the air and side-footing home. With the second away goal, Colombia ensured that only an outright win on the night would send the US through.

The game devolved into testiness, with Luis Gil receiving two yellow cards in five minutes’ time. It was a soft sending off, as the first yellow was for argument, and the second came on a foul embellished by the Colombia player. Regardless, the US went down to ten men with just under 15 minutes remaining and needing two goals.

Colombia ran out the clock, looking to waste time whenever possible. The US had a chance in the the 82nd minute, but Kellyn Acosta couldn’t put his header on target after Colombia failed to deal with a looping US cross.

In the 83rd, Colombia nearly added a third, but couldn’t get a touch on a dangerous cross through the US six-yard box. US misery increased, though, in the 90th minute, when Matt Miazga was given a straight red card for a last-man foul just outside the US box, preventing a breakaway. The resulting free kick nearly found the top corner of the US net, but Horvath read it well.

In the end, neither team scored again, and Colombia qualified for the Olympics, forcing the US to miss the tournament twice in a row. It was as embarrassing a defeat as the US has suffered of late, regardless of the age level.

1-Ethan Horvath; 2-Kellyn Acosta, 3-Matt Miazga, 4-Tim Parker, 15-Desevio Payne (10-Luis Gil, 67); 6-Will Trapp (capt.), 8-Emerson Hyndman, 11-Paul Arriola (17-Jerome Kiesewetter, 46), 13-Matt Polster; 9-Jordan Morris (19-Khiry Shelton, 62), 16-Mario Rodriguez
Subs not used: 12-Cody Cropper, 7-Dillon Serna, 18-Tyler Miller, 5-Walker Zimmerman, 12-Cody Cropper, 14-Fatai Alashe, 20-Eric Miller
Not available: Shane O’Neill, Brandon Vincent, 16-Julian Green
Head Coach: Andreas Herzog

1-Cristian Bonila; 13-Helibelton Palacios, 3-Yerry Mina, 4-Deiver Machado, 5-Davinson Sanchez, 9-Harold Preciado (16-Cristian Borja, 46); 14-Wilmar Barrios, 6-Jose Leudo, 18-Andres Felipe Roa (8-Yony Gonzalez, 90+1), 10-Juan Fernando Quintero (capt.) (11-Jarlan Barrera, 85); 17-Roger Martinez, 19-Guillermo Celis
Subs not used: 12-Luis Hurtado, 15-Juan Pablo Nieto, 20-Alvaro Montero, 7-Andres Renteria, 2-Jherson Vergara
Head coach: Carlos Restrepo

Scoring Summary
COL – Roger Martinez (Andres Felipe Roa) 30th minute
USA – Own Goal (Deiver Machado) 58
COL – Roger Martinez (Deiver Machado) 64

Misconduct Summary
USA – Mario Rodriguez (caution) 21st minute
COL – Deiver Machado (caution) 22
COL – Guillermo Celis (caution) 45
USA – Tim Parker (caution) 52
USA – Matt Polster (caution) 58
USA – Luis Gil (caution) 72
USA – Luis Gil (sent off) 77
COL – Cristian Bonila (caution) 82
COL – Jarlan Barrera (caution) 88
COL – Wilmar Barrios (caution) 88
USA – Matt Miazga (sent off) 90

Stat Summary (USA / COL)
Shots: 5 / 11
Shots on goal: 0 / 6
Saves: 4 / 0
Corner Kicks: 1 / 4
Fouls: 14 / 19
Offside: 0 / 2

Referee: Ravshan Irmatov (UZB)
Assistant Referee 1: Abduxamidullo Rasulov (UZB)
Assistant Referee 2: Jakhongir Saidov
Fourth Official: Ilgiz Tantashev (UZB)


  1. Thanks for the recap. I didn’t watch, but it sounds like the better team won.

    I’m curious why they played this game in Dallas, as opposed to a city where the fans, you know, actually show up. Not sure it would have mattered though.

  2. Totally outclassed for 170 minutes. A bunch of playmakers and difference makers and creativity versus a team devoid of anything resembling world class 23 year old play… this this this is what is so concerning.
    a bunch of scared pointless players… one would wonder what the repercussions of such a poor display are… on top of failure to reach the stated goal of Olympic qualifying for 2nd time in a row… which is almost unprecedented.
    Colombia is a good team… team USA is not.

    • Yep. My thoughts exactly.

    • The “streets of Columbia” select vs. “country club” USA select played and the street kids whipped them pretty good. Roughed them up,made them lose composure. Its a style of play that is not seen often in the USA. Also. unless he was injured, why take out Morris with the score tied? He seemed to be a kind of glue up front, respected by his defenders at least. Did Shelton actually play? I cant remember seeing him. Ah well, so it still goes.

      • el Pachyderm says:

        Streets of Colombia… Magic.
        Bunch of little boys out there… got bullied old school.
        Funny I didn’t even notice our Golden Boy NCAA Champion.
        Don’t you go to Stanford to be an MD or scientist or astronaut. Do colleges actually make professional players?
        The NCAA disconnect is one of many things crushing us.

      • Today’s trivia question — What do the following world-class athletes all have in common: John Elway, Tiger Woods, Janet Evans, John McEnroe, Julie Foudy, Andrew Luck, Kerri Walsh, Tom Watson?
        Hint — They’re not all MDs, scientists or astronauts.

    • Takes time. We’re not Colombia. We’re not at that level. We don’t say, “We’d like to play like that” and get the players right away. Patience.
      Good job, Colombia. Maybe through watching you we can learn.

      • I’m not buying Ken. How much patience? Another 10 years? Another 15? Do you really think things are going in the right direction?
        People say oh well we have a MLS Academy and things will get better… I don’t see it… the difference is skill and quality was really really troubling. But hey… kudos to you and a rosier view.
        And yes, good job to Colombia.

      • Old Soccer Coach. says:

        I do not expect to see the US of A consistently produce world class players in my lifetime.
        You may see it while you can still see, if you are healthy and lucky.
        There will be no quick return on investment. If consistent World Class status is your objective, buy and hold must be your investment strategy.
        West Germany was not World Class immediately after WW2. The old Soviet Union tried to substitute State planning and sponsorship for a middle class wealthy enough to sustain leisure entertainment industries, and gave us Lev Yashin, but who else?
        The Netherlands has been World Class recently, but whether they will continue is a question.
        Only when middle school girls decide that their male schoolmates who play soccer are glamorous, and those who play football are not, will we begin to be world class in the rest of the world’s favorite sport.

    • Man I couldn’t agree with you more. The difference in skill and even, dare I say it, size and speed was startling. I almost felt like i was watching a U11 team play up 2-3 ages and were worried for their safety. This does not paint a good picture of our future.

  3. The Gil sending off was weak in my opinion. Foul ok but was not a card much less a second card.
    Really didn’t matter anyway because there were no ideas at all going forward.

    • el Pachyderm says:

      Well considering our CB stomped on a player…..

      • Absolutely correct Ep, and if you saw the Parker sequence just seconds prior, and closer to the goal, Parker basically kicked another player while he was down.
        In all fairness, the first red SHOULD have been shown to Parker for either of those stupid outbursts.
        And NO, I don’t care if a guy has been “baited”, work even harder WITH CLASS.

      • I agree el P, I was speaking from an isolated incident not about deserving to be a man down in the bigger picture.

  4. Once again let’s play Acosta, a midfielder out of position . . . I’m convinced the US coaches would try to convert Messi into a Right Wing Back.
    How about in a winner take all game you actually play defenders in defense! We get it speed kills . . . but it’s usually the guy driving.

  5. Andy Muenz says:

    I watched both games and Colombia “deserved” to go. That being said, there were a few U-23’s with the senior team. I realize the Guatemala games were more important but it brings the question of whether those senior team players were available back in October when the senior team were not playing qualifiers. (I don’t remember the answer to this but I’m guessing it’s no, otherwise the US would not have lost to Honduras.)

  6. Only watched the first half as I get up at 5am and from what I saw it wasn’t going to be worth staying up. Totally out classed, no creativity, just very poor soccer. Absolutely did not deserve to go to Rio. Which is disheartening as these are the players we are looking to for the future. From what I saw, the future is grim.

  7. Old Soccer Coach. says:

    Remember when in 2002 the USMNT surprised Portugal? Portugal had not even bothered to scout us.
    That attitude persists. The Colombian coach probably tried to get his side to take it seriously in the first leg. When we surprised them, however, all he had to do was say the words, “Nineteen ninety-four.”
    Colombia will be a very difficult opponent for any US side for the foreseeable future. It is a matter of national honor.

  8. What struck me was Columbia’s captain: what a playmaker! He had creative ideas, sharp passes and wicked corners. But based on his size and stature it looked like he was a Sunday CASA player. This seemingly unathletic player would never have gotten a glimpse by scouts/evaluators here in the States and that is the biggest problem here. Too many of the same kids get pushed into he best development programs. The development programs need to be more diverse and not only pick the most athletic biggest kids. Evaluators need to get a better eye for kids with skill whose athletic potential can be developed. This is how Messi got into Barcelona; not because he was the most athletic kid.
    I am happy that Nico Romeijn was appointed by US Soccer and believe he can make a difference in what I described above. Here is more about Nico:

    • azog d'filer says:

      Juan Quintero (Colombia’s # 10) is world class. He was in the ’14 World cup and managed to score. He plays in France but the rest of that squad was ALL from colombia’s top flight.

      So this is where the gulf in talent is evident and IMO it has everything to do with the college sports structure, and yes, the sport’s popularity in that our best athletes end up playing Football, basketball, etc.

      The college draft will hopefully continue to decline in influence, as a new generation of straight to pro players come of age. Until we have a critical mass of kids playing in the streets or on dusty pitches, honing their skills, and chasing a dream to turn pro by 15, we will always be chasing the World Game….

      • 100% because those kids develop the sport specific agility but more importantly the intellect. This best athlete argument does not hold water though IMO and we are deluding ourselves to continue coming back to it… this is not about the fast and strongest..hell the USDA and player pool is littered with these types of kids…how is that working out for us?
        Jozy Altidore is a beast of a specimen, looked to me like he put on 8 lb of muscle since I last saw him… doesn’t help him to make the Right darting Run and the Right Time that Thomas Mueller makes with his spindly legs and Spongebob arms.
        Jermaine Jones… the list goes on and on– people make it sound like our worst athletes are playing soccer. Athletes are not the problem.

    • Nico is Dutch!!!?? Good. A country of 14million punching well above their weight through their rock solid youth program. I hope this points to good development in the future…

  9. Lucky Striker says:

    Watched a little of this. Men vs. boys. US got pushed off-thrown off the ball without a whistle. When they had enough and retaliated, they got the cards. Officiating looked rigged to me-but what’s new internationally?

    Of far greater importance, these MLS/EPL guys looked soft and slow. None of them move…….the Coaching blows if this is all there is.

    None of these guys look good enough-except maybe the red headed CB who cared enough to at least stomp on a few of them. He has potential………

    • If we are expecting MLS Academy to produce world class in a league built to pamper and guarantee investors ROI we will wait FOREVER.

    • You have to be kidding blaming this failure on the officiating. We got two internationally recognized and experienced referees for both legs. I think you are really misguided and perhaps bitter for what transpired on the field. I invite you to look more toward the naivite of our players that let themselves be pushed to violence out of frustration when their soccer couldn’t cope and the coaching staff that really looked puzzled, timid and totally outmatched.

      • +1!! Outclassed! It was that simple. In the past few years, Colombia is consistently the 3rd best team in South America (behind Brazil and Argentina), which says a lot. We are going to have a rough time against them this summer in Copa….

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *