The United States had a chance to seal their spot in this summer's Olympic games in Rio, but despite hosting CONCACAF's qualifying tournament, they weren't able to get the job done. Following a 2-0 semifinal loss to Honduas, the US salvaged tonight's playoff against Colombia by beating Canada in the qualifying tournament's 3rd place game. Nonetheless, it's a disappointing - not to mention very difficult - situation to be in.
It's not just that the recent results for this group have been discouraging (remember that 5-1 loss in Brazil a few months ago?). Colombia also happens to have a very strong team, many of whom have played for their country's senior team already. After initially scraping by during CONMEBOL's group stage, los Cafeteros went unbeaten and conceded just twice in five games in the next round (a group stage whose winner, Argentina, qualified directly).
Given their struggles creating goals against any team even moderately organized, the US focus in tonight's first leg in Barranquilla will almost certainly be on keeping this game close. Colombia is capable of coming to the US for the 2nd leg and scoring, and they're maybe even more capable at keeping the US off the board in the 2nd leg. That makes keeping this one low-scoring may prove decisive if the US is to have both male and female representation in Rio this summer. Both rosters can be found in Alicia Rodriguez's piece for MLSsoccer.com.
Location: Estadio Metropolitano Roberto Melendez (Barranquilla, Colombia)
Kick-off time: 5:00pm Eastern
Available TV: Fox Sports 1 (English), Univision Deportes (Spanish)
Available streaming: Fox Sports Go (English), Fox Soccer 2Go (English)
For listings in other countries, check out LiveSoccerTV.com.
Treat this as tonight's gamethread.
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