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CONCACAF confirms USA-Colombia Olympic qualifying series format

U-23 USMNT celebration vs. Panama 27
Photo by Ron Chenoy/USA Today Sports

After falling to Honduras in Olympic qualifying, the U.S. Under-23 Men’s National team knew it would have to qualify for the Olympics the hard way. Now, the team knows exactly what that way will require.

CONCACAF confirmed on Monday that the playoff between the U.S. and Colombia will be contested in a home-and-away series that will see each team play one game on home soil.

After participating in a draw, Colombia will host the opening leg of the series, with the U.S. hosting the decisive second leg at a venue yet to be determined.

The exact date of the two games are set to be revealed at a later date, but the games must be completed by March of 2016. The winner will advance to the Olympic games, which are set to be held between August 3-20.

After falling to Honduras in the semifinals of Olympic qualifying, the U.S. defeated Canada, 2-0, in the competition’s third place game. That victory booked the U.S. a date with Colombia, who claimed second place at the 2015 South American Youth Championship.

What do you think of the announcement? See the U.S. beating Colombia? Where would you like to see the second leg of the series be played?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. Am I the only one who thinks it is a little weird that CONCACAF gets more spots than South America? We came in third and Colombia came in second, but they have to meet us in a playoff. I know that Brazil as host get an automatic berth, but you would think South America would also get more teams in than CONCACAF. I guess we can thank Mexico for winning the last time.

    • The two confederations each apparently have 2.5 slots; CONCACAF does not have more than COMNEBOL.* The automatic berth to the host country would count as one of COMNEBOL’s. In other words, if the Olympics were in Europe and Colombia finished second in the COMNEBOL qualifying tournament, it would have qualified automatically (as did Honduras and Mexico.) And the third place team would play CONCACAF’s third place team. In this case, however, one of the 2.5 slots was already taken before the tournament, forcing the runner-up into the play-in round.

      *–Now, whether CONCACAF and COMNEBOL should have the same number of slots is an entirely different question.

  2. Colombian immigrants to the US are most heavily concentrated around the Greater NYC and MIami areas.

    Which would argue for someplace west of there, preferably with cold miserable weather like Columbus, Denver.

    Is there an outdoor stadium available in Chicago, Minneapolis or Fargo, North Dakota? It will be March after all.

    Stanford has a nice climate year round so I would veto that.

  3. I would like to see the home game be played at either Avaya stadium or at Stanford. Jordan Morris is from Stanford, and it would be great to watch the hopefully future Olympians play at a suitable venue. I would like to see a supportive fan-base. The Rose Bowl would never be filled and it would more likely have too many Columbia supporters.

      • Depends on the pricing too. Apparently, the prices for the tournament in SLC (which were set by CONCACAF) were ridiculous. Which is why you fewer people watching the U-23s play Honduras for a spot in the Olympics than you get at a typical Cosmos game.

      • These games should garner a lot more attention being a “repechaje.” Who attend a one-game play-in between USA vs Colombia U23 in Rio??? Play the games in each opponents backyard and you might get a few more spectators. Not going to be like the USA vs Mex game in the Rose Bowl but you might be able to get a decent turn out in a small venue. Some money is better than practically no money at all.

    • Isn’t this a FIFA thingy? So CONMEBOL and CONCACAF have some flexibility but I’m sure the format has been determined well in advance. A one-off match in Rio simply doesn’t make sense.

    • well, this format is certainly more fair. A one game in Rio would have been a disaster for us.

      but i agree, it seems that things are ad hoc lately.

  4. We need Brooks and Yedlin playing in this game so hopefully these games are scheduled during the FIFA window.

      • Sebastian Lletget is too old – he isn’t age-eligible as a ’92.

        I agree that John Brooks and DeAndre Yedlin need to be there. We should send our full strength U-23 squad. I’d be willing to have it scheduled on an official FIFA date and keep Yedlin and Brooks off the full senior team if needed.

    • I have asked this before. I wonder if the teams are limited to bring in players who were listed on the original qualifying roster?


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