U.S. Draw Keeps Olympic Hopes Alive

U23MNT_CelebBattling the heat and a feisty Colombian side, the U.S. U-23 men kept their Olympic hopes alive with a 1-1 tie in the first leg played Friday in Barranquilla, Colombia.

Five minutes into the contest, Luis Gil scored an all-important away goal to give the U.S. an early 1-0 lead. On the counterattack, Mario Rodriguez cut the ball back to Gil who was steaming into the box, and would tuck the ball into the lower left corner beating keeper Christian Bonila.

Following the goal, Colombia pressured the United States throughout the first half and missed several high quality chances to bring the match even.

The Colombians would eventually level the score in the 68th minute on a penalty kick by Juan Fernando Quintero. The penalty was awarded after U.S. defender Kellyn Acosta brought down Colombia’s Rafael Santos Borre inside the box.

The Olympic Qualifying Playoff series between the U.S. and Colombia now shifts to Toyota Stadium in Frisco, TX. Game time is 9:30 eastern time and will be aired on ESPN2. The series will be decided by aggregate goals scored across the two-games with away goals the tiebreaker with the winner earning the final Olympic qualifying spot.

The match also marked the first appearance in a U.S. kit for Hicksville native Tim Parker, who last played for the United States as a member of the U-18 Men’s National Team in 2011.