Colombia and USA battled to a 1-1 draw in the blazing heat at the El Metropolitano stadium in Barranquilla, Colombia, setting up a tense second leg of their Rio 2016 Men’s Olympic Football Tournament play-off, where the Americans have the advantage on away goals heading into Tuesday’s deciding match.
In the battle for Rio 2016’s final berth, Luis Gil’s goal early in the first half put the Americans in good shape, steering in Mario Rodriguez’s cross from 12 yards. As if it was not hot enough, however, Colombia turned up the heat on the visitors and their high pressure nearly paid off on several occasions.
After a bad collision at the edge of the area, USA goalkeeper Ethan Horvath was forced to come off just before half-time when he was replaced by Cody Cropper. Trying to hold onto their slender lead, the Americas put every player behind the ball for long stretches of the second half, though Jordan Morris nearly put the Stars and Stripes 2-0 up with an impressive strike with the outside of his boot from 25 yards out, but he was denied by the woodwork.
Colombia kept up their relentless pressure, which led to Kellyn Acosta conceding a penalty 25 minutes from time. Juan Quintero made no mistake from the spot as Colombia’s No10 calmly slotted home into the right corner despite Cropper diving the right way.
Tired legs on both sides led to a sloppy final 15 minutes and despite the hosts continuing to push for the go-ahead goal, the Americans’ backline held together long enough to escape Barranquilla with a 1-1 draw – and that valuable away goal, which they will defend in Frisco, Texas on Tuesday.