Zero shots on goal, two red cards, and at least four more years without a trip to the Olympics. The US U-23 national team lost 2-1 to a better-prepared and more ruthless Colombia side on Tuesday night, and thus were denied a trip to Rio for this summer's Olympic games.
This back-to-back failure -- the US also fell short in 2012 -- is unprecedented:
In the span of four years the U.S. has now missed its first back-to-back Olympics ever and its first U17 World Cup ever.— Will Parchman (@WillParchman) March 30, 2016
...put extra pressure on the midfield to create every single chance, and never offered a way out in possession. That allowed Colombia to flood the middle of the field and almost entirely choke off the US attack.
2. Ethan Horvath is really good, and he needed to be:
Total Stats for #USAvCOL 2-game series..— Ben Jata (@Ben_Jata) March 30, 2016
SOG: 1 to 11
Shots: 10 to 41
Passes: 558 to 1,028
Possession: 34% to 66%
Pass Accuracy: 65% to 83%
1. The next Olympic team will be made up of guys born January 1, 1997 and later. Some names you might recognize are Zelalem, Pulisic and Cameron Carter-Vickers from overseas, while in MLS center back Tommy Redding is starting (and putting in good performances on the regular) for Orlando City SC; Alex Zendejas and Coy Craft get some time every now and then for FC Dallas; I'll lose my mind if Collin Fernandez doesn't get a few starts for Chicago; and Justen Glad will probably start a bunch of games for RSL this year. Glad's RSL teammate Bofo Saucedo is on loan to Veracruz in the Mexican second tier, while Sporting KC defender Erik Palmer-Brown is on loan with Porto B in Portugal.
That's probably the core group, though things can and do, of course, change. We saw this cycle that the guys who were expected to lead the way never really did, while out-of-nowhere stories like Parker and Horvath became the most reliable pieces of the puzzle.
Developing a team, in other words, isn't an exact science. There is no one way to do it.
But there are clearly ways not to do it, and for two straight cycles that's the road US Soccer has taken. It's time to get this right, and the clock is already ticking.