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United States fails to qualify for the 2016 Olympics

Tuesday night's 2-1 defeat in Frisco, Texas in the second leg sent victorious Colombia into the field in Brazil. This will be the second straight Olympics that the United States Men have not been a part of.

Matt Miazga of the United States and Harold Preciado of Colombia fight for a loose ball.
Matt Miazga of the United States and Harold Preciado of Colombia fight for a loose ball.
Sarah Crabill/Getty Images

Qualification for the Rio de Janeiro Olympics was in the balance as the United States U23s hosted the Colombian U23s side in Frisco, Texas. The first leg in Colombia ended in a 1-1 draw.

Colombia was powered by a goal in each half by striker Roger Martinez. In the 30th minute, Martinez found himself in the right place at the right time, as a shot from Andres Roa went wide of target but was redirected into the back of the net. That opening goal put the US in a precarious position, as it took away the away-goal tiebreaker advantage that they held from the first leg. The reward was deserved, as Colombia were clearly the better team from the beginning of the match. They were first to 50-50 chances and had better passing in progressing into the offensive. Ethan Horvath was up for the challenge for the most part at the spine of the American defense. His excellent saves were the reason his team had a chance beyond the first half.

The home team came out with more purpose in the second half, but still were unable to find a way through the opposition defense. A stroke of luck blessed the red-white-and-blue in the 59th minute, when an over-the-top through-ball from Emerson Hyndman was deflected and then defensively headed by Colombian defender Delver Machado in a manner that popped right over his own keeper and into his own net to level the score at one goal each.

The relief was short-lived, as Martinez scored his second of the night just five minutes later. He took a cross from the left wing, and used his settling touch to evade defender Tim Parker which put him in a simple position to shoot it past Horvath. That goal put a mountain of pressure on the hosts, as they then needed two goals to overcome the deficit and the tiebreaker. No such heroics were to be found on this night - in fact, it was quite the opposite.

The late stages of the match were marred by theatrics by the visiting team. Securely ahead in the match, they used the "dark arts" to further frustrate the US and make the time go by faster. Luis Gil, who came on as a second-half substitute, was shown a yellow card for a foul where the referee was sold on a dive. Gil's exasperation and immaturity earned him a second yellow, and thus the home team were down to ten men. Another bit of controversy arose in the 90th minute when Chelsea FC man Matt Miazga seemed to take down Christian Borga on his clear path in on goal. Further review seemed to show that Borga felt Miazga's outstretched arm on him and left his foot back so that his defender would inevitably trip him. Miazga was shown a straight red, and the Americans were down to nine men. Nothing came of the resultant free kick, but the damage had already been done.

The United States were toothless to threaten Colombia from that point on. Their fate had been sealed, and it made for a missed opportunity to atone for not qualifying for the 2012 London Olympics. The 2-1 final puts Colombia into the Olympics for the first time since 1992 in Barcelona.