USA Earns Hard Fought 1-1 Away Draw vs. Colombia in 2016 Olympic Qualifying Playoff 1st Leg

Luis Gil Scores Vital Away Goal for U.S. Under-23 Men’s National Team USA and Colombia Return to Frisco, Texas for 2016 Olympic Qualifying Playoff 2nd Leg on March 29 at 8:30 p.m. CT on ESPN2

BARRANQUILLA, Colombia  (March 25, 2016) – The U.S. Under-23 Men’s National Team fought to a well-earned 1-1 draw away to Colombia in the 2016 Olympic Qualifying Playoff 1st Leg thanks to an early Luis Gil goal and a determined defensive effort under scorching heat and humidity at Estadio Metropolitano Roberto Meléndez.

Gil scored his third goal of this Olympic Qualifying cycle in just the fifth minute, finishing off a cross from Mario Rodriguez to stake the USA to an early lead. Colombia struck back from the penalty spot in the second half, but could not breach the U.S. defense from the run of play despite ample possession and stoppage time at the end of each half.

The Olympic Qualifying Playoff series between the USA and Colombia now shifts back to the United States for the 2nd Leg. The series will be decided by aggregate goals scored across the two-games.

The 2016 Olympic Qualifying Playoff 2nd Leg between the USA and Colombia will be played at Toyota Stadium in Frisco, Texas on Tuesday, March 29 (8:30 p.m. CT; ESPN2) [TICKETS]. It is part of a U.S. Soccer double-header on ESPN2 that begins earlier that day when the senior U.S. Men’s National Team takes on Guatemala at MAPFRE Stadium in Columbus Ohio (7 p.m. ET; ESPN2, UniMas, UDN).

Goal Scoring Rundown:
USA – Luis Gil (Mario Rodriguez), 5th minute: On a flowing counterattack, Mario Rodriguez beat his defender to the endline and cut the ball back toward the penalty spot for the trailing Luis Gil, who was unmarked. Gil picked out the lower left-hand corner of Colombia goalkeeper Christian Bonila’s goal with a one-time shot through the legs of a closing defender. USA 1, COL 0 (SEE GOAL)

COL – Juan Fernando Quintero (penalty kick), 68th minute: USA right back Kellyn Acosta brought down Colombia’s Rafael Santos Borre in the U.S. box as the forward broke in on goal. On the resulting penalty kick, Quintero sent a low shot to the right of U.S. substitute goalkeeper Cody Cropper, who guessed correctly but was just unable to get a hand to the shot. USA 1, COL 1 (SEE GOAL) FINAL

Key Saves and Defensive Stops:
USA – Ethan Horvath, 37th minute –
Colombia played a long, cross-field ball over top of the U.S. defense, aiming for Andreas Renteria. Horvath was wise to the move and dashed off his line to head the ball clear as Renteria clattered into him. The hit shook Horvath up but he played on for a handful of minutes before being substituted for Cody Cropper before halftime.

Next on the Schedule: The USA resumes it 2016 Olympic Qualifying Playoff at home against Colombia. The 2nd Leg kicks off on Tuesday, March 29 at Toyota Stadium in Frisco, Texas (8:30 p.m. CT; ESPN 2). The match is part of a U.S. Soccer double-header on ESPN2 that begins earlier in the day with the U.S. Men’s National Team taking on Guatemala in World Cup Qualifying at MAPFRE Stadium in Columbus, Ohio (7 p.m. ET; ESPN2, UniMas, UDN).
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Additional Notes:

- U.S. Under-23 Men’s National Team Match Report –

Match: U.S. Under-23 Men’s National Team vs. Colombia
Date: March 25, 2016
Competition: 2016 Olympic Qualifying - Playoff
Venue: Estadio Metropolitano Roberto Meléndez; Barranquilla, Colombia
Kickoff: 5 p.m. ET
Attendance: TBD
Weather: 88 degrees, sunny

Scoring Summary:           1              2              F
USA                                       1              0              1
COL                                        0              1              1

USA – Luis Gil (Mario Rodriguez)                                               5th minute
COL – Juan Fernando Quintero (penalty kick)                      68

Lineups:
USA: 1-Ethan Horvath (12-Cody Cropper, 45); 7-Kellyn Acosta, 3-Matt Miazga, 4-Tim Parker, 20-Eric Miller; 6-Will Trapp (capt.), 13-Matt Polster, 8-Emerson Hyndman, 10-Luis Gil (14-Fatai Alashe, 66); 18-Mario Rodriguez (17-Jerome Kiesewetter, 72), 9-Jordan Morris
Subs: 2-Tyler Miller, 5-Walker Zimmerman, 11-Paul Arriola, 15-Desevio Payne, 16-Julian Green, 19-Khiry Shelton
Not available: Shane O’Neill, Dillon Serna, Brandon Vincent
Head Coach: Andres Herzog

COL: 1-Cristian Bonila; 13-Helibelton Palacios, 3-Yerry Mina, 5-Davinson Sanchez, 16-Cristian Borja; 14-Wilmar Barrios, 6-Jose Leudo (11-Jarlan Barrera, 33), 18-Andres Felipe Roa (15-Juan Pablo Nieto, 73), 10-Juan Fernando Quintero; 7-Andres Renteria (19-Rafael Santos Borre, 62), 9-Harold Preciado
Subs: 4-Deiver Machado, 8-Yony Gonzalez, 12-Luis Hurtado, 17-Roger Martinez, 20-Alvaro Montero
Head coach: Carlos Restrepo

Stats Summary: USA / COL
Shots:  5 /18
Shots on goal:  1/ 6
Saves: 4 / 0
Corner Kicks: 2 / 8
Fouls: 11 / 13
Offside: 2 / 1

Misconduct Summary:
USA – Matt Miazga (caution)                      52nd minute
USA – Kellyn Acosta (caution)                    67
COL – Rafael Santos Borre (caution)        67
USA – Cody Cropper (caution)                   83
COL – Cristian Borja                                         90+1

Officials:
Referee: Cuneyt Cakir (TUR)
Assistant Referee 1: Orkun Aktas (TUR)
Assistant Referee 2: Mehmet Staman (TUR)
Fourth Official: Huseyin Gocek (TUR)

ussoccer.com Man of the Match: TBD