U.S. Olympic hopefuls in must-win clash with Canada

Having squandered a chance to clinch a berth at the 2016 Olympics when it fell, 2-0, to Honduras on Saturday, the U.S. U-23 national team aims to keep its hopes alive when it faces Canada in the Concacaf Olympic Qualifying Tournament third-place game on Tuesday in Sandy, Utah (NBC Universo, 7 p.m. ET).

The winner of the third-place game will face Colombia in a one-game playoff for a spot at the Rio 2006 Games.

The USA faced Canada in its opener and won 3-1, the first of three straight wins for the Americans, who finished atop Group A. But after downing Cuba, 6-1, and Panama, 4-0, Coach Andi Herzog’s team struggled badly against Honduras in a game that saw Herzog ejected. Former Philadelphia Union and U-17 head coach John Hackworth will serve as head coach in place of the suspended Herzog on Tuesday.

The frontline duo of Jerome Kiesewetter and Jordan Morris, who had been so effective in group play -- each scored threw goals -- were kept at bay by the Hondurans. Particularly disappointing was central midfielder Luis Gil, who had come off the bench in the opener before starting the last three games. Gedion Zelalem, who sat out the Honduras game and was reportedly nursing a muscle injury, would be a likely replacement for Gil.

Canada’s last appearance at the Olympic men’s soccer tournament came in 1984, before it became a U-23 competition, in 1992. The USA has missed out on two of the last three Olympic tournaments, last appearing at the Beijing 2008 Games when it exited in the first round.

After their opening loss to the USA in this qualifying tournament, the Canadians beat Panama (3-1) and tied Cuba (2-2) to reach the semifinal game against Mexico, the defending Olympic gold medalists.

In the USA’s 3-1 win over Canada on Oct. 1, the Americans took a 2-0 lead on goals by Morris in the 1st and 73rd minute. Canada halved the deficit on a Michael Petrasso goal in the 81st minute before Gil converted a stoppage time penalty kick for a foul on Kiesewetter.

Facing a team they already lost to isn’t discouraging to the Canadians according to captain Samuel Piette, the team’s most experienced player with 19 full national team caps and the lone holdover from the U-23 team that beat the USA, 2-0, in 2012 Olympic qualifying.

"I thought the United States was our best game so far in the tournament," Piette told the Ottawa Citizen. "Early goal was tough but we kept to the game plan and it worked well. The score wasn't relevant."

4 comments about "U.S. Olympic hopefuls in must-win clash with Canada ".
  1. Santiago 1314, October 12, 2015 at 11:59 p.m.

    Best line-up...4-1-3-1-1... Steffan(gk)...Pelosi-Miazga-Packwood-C~V...Trapp..Ariyibi-Hyndman-Keisewetter...Zelalem. ..Morris...Please give Zelalem FREE MOVEMENT ON THE LEFT AND RIGHT WINGS...

  2. Kim Littleton, October 13, 2015 at 4:06 p.m.

    USA is probably not going to the Olympics again....the coach appointed by JK is not a coach and does not know how to pick players. There are so many incredible of age players that are being ignored....too bad....even if they miraculously do end up getting in...should not limit the team to who they have now...should have bigger camps and bring in new players....especially in the midfield....

  3. Santiago 1314 replied, October 13, 2015 at 4:27 p.m.

    Good thing is Herzog won't be Coaching tonight ...Got throw Last Game...Hopefully Tab shows up...at least he knows how to use Zelalem

  4. Santiago 1314, October 13, 2015 at 7:45 p.m.

    Watching game now...This is Terrible and Disgusting...What a Chicken Shitake Line Up...Not a single "Skilled" player to take on the Bunker of 10 that Canada has built...37 minutes 0-0...Total Crap

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