Luis Gil scored what could be a crucial goal in the fifth minute as the United States U-23 Men's National Team earned a 1-1 draw with Colombia on the road in the first leg of its home-and-home Olympic qualifying playoff.
On a sweltering afternoon that saw temperatures in Barranquilla climb into the 90s, Mario Rodriguez drove to the end line before playing a square ball into the middle of the 18 for Gil to run onto and slide home. It was Gil's third goal of the qualifying cycle. But, after that point, the U.S. was put under heavy and constant pressure from the hosts.
While the Americans did well to hold out for the rest of the first half, Colombia got the equalizer early in the second half. The hosts earned a penalty in the 68th minute when Kellyn Acosta pulled down Rafael Santos Borre in the penalty area. Juan Quintero beat substitute goalkeeper Cody Cropper to tie things up. Cropper was only in the game because starter Ethan Horvath had to leave in the first half after colliding with a Colombian player.
Leg two will be on Tuesday at Toyota Stadium in Frisco, TX, and the Yanks will know that a scoreless draw will be good enough to take them to Rio.