The U.S. U-23 national team is in Colombia as they embark on the first of two final steps towards competing at the 2016 Olympics in Rio this summer.
Andi Herzog’s side finished third in CONCACAF qualifying for the Olympics last October, meaning they have to face Colombia’s U-23 side in a home and away playoff series to decide who takes the final spot in the men’s tournament in Brazil.
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The Estadio Metropolitano Roberto Melendez in Barranquilla, Colombia is the setting for the first leg on Friday at 5 p.m. ET, with Herzog having plenty of players with full U.S. national team experience to call on.
Included in that group are Jordan Morris, Matt Miazga and Julian Green, as the U.S. will look to keep it tight on the road in Colombia in leg one and then get the job done in Dallas, Texas next Tuesday.
There were some rumblings about DeAndre Yedlin and John Brooks being brought into this squad, but both have remained with Jurgen Klinsmann’s full national team for their upcoming 2018 World Cup qualifiers against Guatemala.
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Klinsmann and Herzog have stated many times that the aim for the U.S. U-23 side has always been to qualify for the Olympics, especially after the side led by Caleb Porter failed to qualify for the 2012 Olympics in London.
Giving youngsters tournament experience is key for Klinsmann’s masterplan and failure to make the Olympics will certainly go down as a huge missed opportunity.
Stay logged onto ProSoccerTalk this evening for a recap and reaction from the USA’s clash in Colombia.