After a 1-1 draw with Columbia U-23, the U.S. youngsters need a win or 0-0 draw to ensure placement in the 2018 Rio Olympics. Captain and Columbus Crew SC midfielder Wil Trapp leads the USA U-23s into battle on home soil in Frisco, Texas.
5′ The U.S. look eager to control possession and take the game to Columbia in the first five minutes.
6′ Bad giveaway from Desevio Payne who is muscled off the ball in the midfield, leading to an opportunity thwarted by a nice save from Ethan Horvath.
9′ The American boys are showing more confidence compared to last week’s away tilt but have yet to create a dangerous opportunity on goal. Columbia look threatening with every possession.
11′ EEK. Inability to clear a low cross from American leads to multiple opportunities in front of goal for Columbia.
14′ USA are playing with fire after another midfield givaway, this time from Emerson Hyndman, leads to a Columbian counter attack. Quintero’s shot from outside the box soars above the frame.
16′ Trapp fumbles a pass deep in USA territory but recovers to get in the way of a Columbian strike that deflects out for a corner kick.
22′ The U.S.’s early emphasis on possession has gone to the wayside as they now seek to whether a storm of Columbian attack.
28′ A Columbian free kick leads to Horvath sprinting towards the edge and dives to beat Yerry Mina to the ball. Mina goes to ground but official Irmatov signals for a corner kick.
30′ GOAL. A Columbian cross from Palacious is not met by any American defenders and lands at the feet of Roa, who’s shot is redirected in by Roger Martinez. The U.S defense has been especially porous on set pieces and crosses, and they’ve given Columbia way too many extra chances after the ball should have been cleared. 1-0 Columbia (2-1 Columbia on aggregate).
37′ Almost an entire half in and I’ve forgotten which American forwards are currently observing this match from the other end of the field.
38′ A brief moment of promise as Emerson Hyndman finds a streaking Morris, but the pass is too far ahead and is met first by Columbian goalkeeper Bonilla.
43′ Much was made out of Columbus’ inability to sell out an important national team game, but what do those critics have to say about the miniscule, pro-Columbian crowd in this home fixture? Absolutely no energy behind the U.S. from the stands in the first half.
45′ Jordan Morris and Mario Rodriguez were virtually invisible in the first half, but the U.S. midfield need to be more effective going forward in possession to find help their forwards.
Halftime: A promising start from the United States U-23s quickly regressed into sloppiness as the defense failed to clear a litany of chances and the midfield lost possession too easily in dangerous zones. As it stands, the U.S. will watching the 2018 Olympics from home, but one moment could still make this anyone’s game in the second half. The U.S. must now put all their emphasis on getting that goal and could switch into a three forward formation with Khiry Shelton or Luis Gil coming on to add a spark to the American attack.
SUB: Jerome Kiesewetter enters in place of Paul Arriola in what looks like a right winger position.
46′ Second Half begins!!!
47′ The U.S. immediately wins possession and Kellyn Accosta draws a free kick in the attacking half. Hyndman’s free kick goes over the goal.
48′ Once again, the U.S. are starting out as the aggressor but they’ll need to keep it up for more than 10 minutes if they want to draw even.
50′ Accosta has been more active on the left flank and has created a few opportunities for the U.S. to send the ball into the box.
52′ Wil Trapp turns the ball over and gives Columbia a counter attack with numbers. Tim Parker makes a desperation tackle at the end of the run to thwart the attack. Parker chases the ball to the corner and collides with a Columbian attacker to earn a yellow card.
57′ GOAAAL USA!!!!!!!! It’s a own goal going off the head of Machado and over the outstretched arms of Bonilla, but Emerson Hyndman’s direct ball forward was perfectly placed and gave the Columbian defense fits. The ball was intended for Kiesewetter, who looked to be in the path of the over-the-top pass, but the confusion works in the U.S.’s favor as now both teams have two aggregate goals apiece with only a half-hour of regulation to go!
60′ Fantastic desperation tackle by Desevio Payne saves a point-blank shot in front of goal from Columbia.
62′ Sub: Khiry Shelton comes on for Jordan Morris, who has had little impact on the game.
64′ GOAL: Columbian Roger Martinez nets his second of the game as his deft touch fools Tim Parker, who overruns and Martinez and the ball, leaving Martinez with an open shot from close range. 2-1 Columbia. The U.S. now need two goals in the last 25 minutes to earn an Olympic birth.
67′ SUB: Luis Gil replaces Desevio Payne
71′ U.S. midfielder Matt Polster is carried off the field on a stretcher with an apparent hamstring injury. The U.S. have used all three of their subs.
75′ Trapp floats a dangerous cross into the penalty area, but it is dealt with cleanly by the Columbian defense.
77′ RED CARD: Luis Gil receives two yellow cards in 11 minutes and is sent off for what looks like a hand to the face infraction. Things are falling apart for the Americans as Columbian antics appear to be affecting their mental composure.
82′ Columbian players are dropping at every hint of contact. The technical ability and chemistry in this Columbia side is something Americans have dreamt of in the USMNT for decades. Seeing both compete on the same field shows the U.S. is truly lightyears behind in both categories.
90′ RED CARD: Matt Miazga is the last defender between Borja and the goal, makes contact, causing Borja to convulse in horrifying agony. Free kick Columbia.
92′ The U.S. are now officially playing with 9 men. At least one of them is injured on the sidelines. 11 yellow cards have been issued, coinciding with two American red cards. This feels like Space Jam if the Looney Toons didn’t discover Michael’s Secret Stuff™.
96′ BALL GAME! The final whistle sends Columbia to the Olympics! Though the final score of the second leg was a competitive 2-1, the better team was evident throughout and the Columbians embarrassed the U.S. with their ability to close the game and get under the skin of a frustrated U.S. team. All facets of the U.S. game must improve, but most concerning is the lack of mental strength displayed by the U-23s who will now have less time to develop together in top competitions after missing another Olympic cycle. Bye for now!