The United States will not field a men’s soccer team for the second consecutive Olympic Games after falling to Colombia 2-1 Tuesday evening in Frisco, Texas. Colombia wins the two-game series by a 3-2 aggregate score.
The American side entered the game with a sense of confidence after picking up an away goal Friday in Colombia, which gave the team an advantage in any potential tiebreakers. The U.S. appeared to be leaning heavily on that thin advantage in the first half, seemingly content to let its defense carry the day. However, that strategy allowed Colombia to dictate game action, and its pressure led to ragged play in the American back line.
The bubble burst for the United States in the 30th minute when Roger Martinez redirected an errant shot past the right post to put Colombia up 1-0. The U.S. men came out with renewed energy and urgency in the second half, and their aggressiveness was rewarded when, in the 57th minute, an Emerson Hyndman service led to an own goal off the head of Deiver Machado to tie the game at 1-1 and the series 2-2.
The flickering American hopes were extinguished in the 64th minute when Martinez faked out defender Tim Parker on the penalty spot and slotted his shot past goalkeeper Ethan Horvath for the deciding goal.
With the loss, the United States will miss back-to-back Olympics for the first time since the 1960s, when it was unable to qualify for three consecutive Games (Rome 1960, Tokyo 1964 and Mexico City 1968).
Colombia becomes the 16th and final team to qualify for the men’s soccer tournament in Rio. Joining the host nation Brazil are Mexico, Honduras, Argentina, Sweden, Denmark, Portugal, Germany, Algeria, Iraq, Nigeria, South Africa, South Korea, Japan and Fiji.