AT THE HALF: Gil nabs road goal, stakes U.S. U-23s to lead in Colombia

Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

Luis Gil has given the U.S. U-23 men a 1-0 lead over Colombia on a sweltering day at Estadio Metropolitano, where the heat index felt like 102 and kicked off at 4 p.m. local time.

The match is the first leg of the CONCACAF-CONMEBOL playoff for Olympic qualification, with the second leg in the U.S. on Tuesday.

[ MORE: Match preview | Lineups ]

The U.S. expected a quick start from Colombia, and goalkeeper Ethan Horvath had to make a point-blank stop on a borderline onside Harold Preciado.

But it was the Yanks that would strike first, with Gil darting to the center of the box unmarked to push Mario Rodriguez’s cutback home.

Jordan Morris had a big chance on the left flank, and Bonilla parried a shot to Gil. The midfielder hit his shot wide of the frame.

Colombia then pressed hard and could’ve equalized on several occasions before a scary moment for the U.S., as Horvath headed clear from the edge of the 18 and was clattered into by a charging Andres Renteria.

He was replaced by Cody Cropper, the former Southampton keeper now at MK Dons. He was tested early by Juan Fernando Quintero, but corralled the shot with his legs.