This is it. Ninety minutes for a chance to represent your country this summer in Rio. That is the situation faced by each member of the U-23 men's national squads of the U.S. and Colombia as they prepare to face off tonight in Frisco, TX.
This is your live thread for tonight's contest. After a 1-1 draw in Barranquilla on Friday, the Yanks hold the advantage heading into the second leg of this Olympic qualifying playoff.
While playing in front of a home crowd will surely inspire the young Americans, the team must expect to face a Colombian side eager to get a road goal of its own. Knowing that a goalless draw will see the Americans through on away goals, U.S. fans should prepare for a game where the hosts will be under immense pressure at various times. Colombia is full of speed from the back line all the way up to the strikers and, while the U.S. won't have to deal with shutting down that speed in a 90-plus degree sauna like it endured on Friday, there will be much work to do defensively.
Look for the center back pairing of Matt Miazga and Tim Vincent to make some timely interventions in and around the goal box. FC Dallas man Kellyn Acosta will also have his hands full at the fullback position. Acosta was the man whose foul gave Colombia the penalty kick that equalized the match. Another mistake like that could keep the U.S. out of Rio by the night's end.
Another position to keep an eye on is between the sticks. Friday's starter Ethan Horvath was forced to leave in the first half due to injury and if that same injury keeps him out of tonight's match, expect Cody Cropper to take his place.
Cropper was solid in his 45 minutes plus in goal Friday and nearly got his hand to Colombia's PK. Rest assured, whoever starts for the U.S. will have to make one or two big saves to help the Stars and Stripes get through.
While the U.S. couldn't get a second goal in the first leg, the Yanks were able to spring forward on the counterattack and create a few chances. With the Colombians in a position where they need another goal and already being an aggressive team, look for U.S. front man Jordan Morris to use his speed to to strike on the counter.
This is what it's all about. One game with everything riding on it. A win would be huge for this team and U.S. soccer in general. U.S. fans are not going to want to miss this one!
How to Watch:
Match Time: 9:30 p.m. ET
Venue: Toyota Stadium -- Frisco, Texas
Live Stream: WatchESPN
Match Thread Rules:
This is your live thread for posting comments on the match. So use our comments section below to talk about the game in real time with our supporters. If you are new, welcome to our happy home! While you are here, please observe a few basic rules:
- Absolutely no illegal streams, they can get us in trouble and nobody wants that.
- Try not to be "that guy" who does nothing but spit venom at the team. Being critical is fine -- every team can be frustrating to watch sometimes -- but constantly being too negative can diminish the fun for others.
- Keep it clean and fair when criticizing officials. You never know who might be reading.
- Treat others in the match thread as you would like to treated in the thread. We are a fun community and would like to keep it that way. There is a moderator, but we'd rather let him enjoy the game instead of having to play babysitter.
- Lastly, while we do not have any rules against profanity, do not abuse this non-rule. Any language that is sexist, racist or homophobic will be swiftly deleted and you may lose posting privileges. We are all in this together.
Enjoy the game. Go USA!