In the most heart-breaking fashion possible, the United States suffered a draw that felt like a loss last night against El Salvador in CONCACAF's Olympic Qualifying Tournament. The 3-3 tie last night, along with the surprising loss to Canada last week, knocked the U.S. out of the Olympics.
This is an embarrassing failure for a country that was expected to advance quite easily in what was seen as a fairly weak group. But after clobbering Cuba in the opening match of the Tournament, the young U.S. team faltered, perhaps from overconfidence, but more likely just from inadequacy.
On the bright side, and on a more selfish note, the Americans' failure means that Perry Kitchen and Bill Hamid will be able to return home to D.C. in time for United's match against FC Dallas on Friday. Hamid was withdrawn from Caleb Porter's lineup after suffering an injury last night in favor of Sean Johnson. Hamid gave up two goals to the Canadians on Saturday. Kitchen played every minute of all three Tournament matches, and Ben Olsen might give him a bit of a rest as Marcelo Saragosa has filled in admirably, but Hamid should definitely be expected to start for United on Friday if healthy.
In other news, Andy Najar and the Honduras U-23 team can lock up a spot in the next round with a win tonight over Panama (or a tie and Mexican win over Trinidad and Tobago). If Mexico and Honduras both take care of business tonight, Najar's squad will continue on to a critical meeting with El Salvador on Saturday, with the winner moving on to the Olympics. If Honduras fails to advance, and barring a strange turn of events in which Canada beats Mexico in the semifinals and names Dwayne De Rosario as one of its senior representatives, neither of which would be the least bit expected, D.C. United will be fortunate enough to be unaffected by international absences during the London Olympics this summer.