The USMNT U-23 took on Colombia's U-23 in the first leg of a home-and-away playoff to see who will have the opportunity to play in the 2016 Rio Olympics. The game was played in Barranquilla, Colombia in over 100 degree temperature.
Luis Gil opened the scoring in the 5th minute on a goal from a cut back cross by Mario Rodriguez. Gil almost made it 2-0 off a deflected Morris cross but the ball wide. Columbia tied it up 1-1 on a Penalty Kick in the 68th minute. The game ended 1-1 with the US really holding on to earn the draw and secure the crucial away goal.
The second leg of the playoff will be held Tuesday, March 29 at Toyota Stadium in Frisco, Texas 9:30 PM ET and will air on ESPN 2.
Difficult game to grade for many members because the US had less than 25 percent possession. Colombia really dominated much of the game. The US defense was under constant attack as the team settled deep and went for occasional counters when they could hold onto possession.
US U-23 Player Ratings (out of 10)
Ethan Horvath, 7 (off 45') - Almost got caught coming out too far on a cross but showed well coming out of goal to win a header which lead to an injury and being subbed off before half.
Kellyn Acosta, 5 - Caught ball watching and allow dangerous shot early on, gave up penalty trying to recover from a Miazga miss. Acosta was under constant pressure and handled himself decently but made several mistakes which almost cost the US more than just one goal.
Matt Miazga, 5 - Made a silly mistake by misplaying ball leading to penalty trying to volley the ball over his head.
Tim Parker, 7.5 - Strong challenges and handled himself well. Strong performance by the Whitecaps defender.
Eric Miller, 6 - Strong defensively but some poor dribbling and clearances while on the ball deducted points.
Matt Polster, 5 - His name really never came up during the game which is not a good thing for a midfielder where the US had almost zero possession. Made a nice run in the box late but not really sure what else.
Wil Trapp, 5 - Similar to Polster, did not help with possession at all and was dropped deep in defense for the entire game.
Emerson Hyndman, 6 - Gave up a stupid foul to allow free kick in dangerous area early on but overall thought he was the best midfielder on the field for the US. Had some crucial wins on the ball and held possession. Not great but the best of the bad bunch by far.
Luis Gil, 6 (off 66') - Gave the US the lead by scoring the opening goal on a nice run to finish a Rodriguez cross. He did miss a golden opportunity to put US up 2 on a run by Morris. Gave away the ball time and time again in the midfield.
Mario Rodriguez, 6 (off 72') - Nice hustle and cutback assist on the opening goal. Other than that he was pretty silent having to help out defensively.
Jordan Morris, 6.5 - Tried hard throughout the game, made a nice cross that almost led to a 2-0 lead and then hit a heck of a shot off the outside of his right foot from outside the 18 that unfortunately hit the bar. Did not see much of the ball and can work on his hold up play but good game from the new Seattle Sounder overall.
Cody Cropper, 7 (on 45') - Gave up a PK goal, but other than that was solid in goal and showed nicely on a cross.
Fatai Alashe, 5 (on 66') - Came on for Gil and immediately gave the ball away in the midfield to continue the possession struggle.
Kiesewetter, 5.5 (on 72') - Tried to make his classic runs up the sideline but overall not much impact on the game after coming on for Rodriguez.