[AMERICANS ABROAD] A pair of young American goalies, former University of Virginia star Diego Restrepo and
20-year-old Kevin Piedrahita, were pressed into service in the Colombian promotion/relegation playoffs, but they could not prevent America de Cali from
being relegated for the first time in its 84-year history.
With starting goalie Julian Viafara serving a six-month drug suspension, Restrepo regained his starting job, but a red card to Restrepo resulted in Piedrahita getting his his first pro start in the first leg of the playoffs against Patriotas.
America earned a 1-1 tie and looked to be in good shape going into the second leg with Restrepo in goal, but the Red Devils could only tie Patriotas 1-1 before 30,000 fans at the Estadio Pascual Guerrero in Cali.
Patriots won the shootout 4-3 to earn promotion for the first time in eight years.
America has won 13 league titles -- tied with Millonarios for the most in Colombian history -- and finished second in the Copa Libertadores three times (1985-87).
With America relegated to the Second Division, Restrepo might leave Cali after two seasons and return to the United States. Several MLS clubs are reported to be interested in the 23-year-old keeper.