The Road to Rio hit a dead-end on Tuesday night in Frisco when the Colombian U-23 national team out powered, and out classed the U.S. U-23 national team for 90 minutes plus stoppage time on its way to a 2-1 victory – 3-2 on aggregate.
It is the second straight Olympics the United States will miss in the soccer competition.
Colombia scored all the goals on the night, as Roger Martinez bagged a brace for the South Americans, and an ugly own goal by Colombian center back Deiver Machado gave the United States a lifeline in the 57th minute.
“It wasn’t good enough today,” said head coach Andres Herzgov. “From the beginning we were unable to play out of the back. We just kicked long-balls, we had now power up-front.”
After dominating for the entire first half, Colombia started the scoring in the 30th minute after Martinez got on the end of a shot that was going wide of the far post. His dink of a touch was enough for a 1-0 lead.
The Colombians continued to play physically in front of a mostly pro-Colombia crowd at Toyota Stadium. FC Dallas man, Kellyn Acosta and his backline mates were unable to contain the rough and rowdy Colombians.
“It was difficult, that was their game,” Acosta said. “They have a couple of guys in the midfield who are the destroyer type who just win the ball. I think it was a bit of a wake-up call. I think some of our challenges were a bit too weak.”
The United States lone life-line came in the 57th minute when the Americans heaved a ball forward hoping for the best. A poor header by Machado hit the top of his head, and looped over Colombian keeper Cristian Bonila. The own goal tied the match.
Other than that, the United States were never able to get a shot on goal. Seattle Sounders homegrown product, Jordan Morris got the start at striker, but could never find his footing.
Morris was visibly emotional after the game when talking to the press.
“It was tough, it just wasn’t really our day,” Morris said choking back tears. “You get one chance at this. You dream about it since you were a little kid. It’s a tough one to swallow.”
The United States were reduced to nine men after Luis Gil picked up a second yellow, and Chelsea defenseman Matt Miazga was shown a straight red for denial of a goal scoring opportunity.
Colombia capitalized before the space of extra men was there.
Martinez lost his man in a 1v1 situation inside the American box – his finish was easy and into the bottom left hand corner to make it 2-1 in the game, and 3-2 on aggregate for the Colombians.
“It’s 1-1 then we give up such a stupid, simple goal,” Herzgov said.
The Colombians rode that wave, and will continue to ride it all the way to Rio De Janeiro, Brazil in the summer.