U.S. fails to qualify for Olympic Games in mens soccer after loss to Honduras – USA TODAY
The United States men’s soccer team will have to wait another three years to attempt to qualify for its first Summer Olympics since 2008.
The U.S. was defeated by Honduras, 2-1, in Sunday’s Concacaf men’s Olympic qualifying semifinal at Estadio Jalisco in Guadalajara, Mexico.
It is the second straight qualifying tournament in which the U.S. was knocked out of the Olympics by Honduras in the semifinals, and it will be the third straight Olympic men’s soccer competition that will not include the U.S. The Olympic qualifying failure also means the USMNT has not played in a major tournament since the 2014 World Cup.
Honduras will play Mexico in the final of the U-23 Olympic qualifying tournament on Tuesday (9 p.m. ET, FS1). Mexico and Honduras both reached the 2016 Olympics, with Honduras advancing to the semifinals.
Juan Carlos Obregon opened the scoring four minutes into stoppage time in the first half. Honduras’ second goal came early in the second half when U.S. goalkeeper David Ochoa’s attempt to clear the ball ricocheted off Honduras’ Luis Palma and into the goal. Five minutes later, Jackson Yueill connected on a strike from outside the box to give the United States hope for a comeback. However, that comeback was not to be as Honduras held on for the win.
The United States opened the competition with two straight wins — 1-0 over Costa Rica and 4-0 over the Dominican Republic — but fell 1-0 to Mexico on Wednesday to finish second in Group A. That set up the matchup with Honduras, which won Group B.
That 2008 U.S. men’s Olympic team featured future USMNT players such as Michael Bradley, Maurice Edu, Stuart Holden, Charlie Davies, Benny Feilhaber, Jozy Altidore and Brad Guzan. That team also included a 19-year-old Freddy Adu.
Concacaf qualifiers will join Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Egypt, France, Germany, Ivory Coast, Japan, New Zealand, Romania, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea and Spain in the draw, which will be held in Zurich on April 21. The Olympic men’s soccer tournament will be played from July 21 to Aug. 7 in Tokyo, Kashima, Miyagi, Saitama, Sapporo and Yokohama.
Olympic men’s soccer has been an under-23 tournament since 1992. With qualifying and the Olympics postponed a year because of the coronavirus pandemic, FIFA kept the requirement that players be born Jan. 1, 1997, or later.