Colombia’s clash with the USA for a place in the Olympics, the two-legged showdown, will start today in Barranquilla at Metropolitano Stadium just after 3:30pm and will be televised by Caracol TV.
The national team gathered more than a week ago in “La Arenosa” hoping to take advantage of the sweltering weather of the city using the very characteristic high pressure and ball possession tactics that Coach Restrepo applies. The USA, on the other hand, worried about the heat, opted to arrive in Barranquilla only two days ago (Wednesday). Whether that was a good decision or not will become clear at today’s game when they see just how hot it gets here in La Arenosa.
Colombia will be led today by the 2014 World Cup player, Juan Fernando Quintero, the star from Rennes who has the challenge of being the playmaker of the team and getting the last ticket to Rio 2016. With him will also be the strikers, Rafael Santos Borre (new Atletico de Madrid signup), Roger Martinez (Racing Argentina scorer) and Andrés Rentería (big figure in Mexican football). The other key players will be the goalie, Cristian Bonilla, the defender, Yerry Mina (South American Cup Champion) and Jarlan Barrera (Junior FC MVP).
The Stars and Stripes are coming to Colombia with some big potential players with alot of promise but still very little time on their teams; players such as Matt Miazga, from the British champion, Chelsea, or Julian Green from the German champion, Bayern Munich. Also coming from Major League Soccer are the youth stars, Eric Miller (Colorado Rapids), Will Trap (Columbus Crew) and Jordan Morris (Seattle Sounders).
“We hope to get a difference that is strong enough to play calmly in the Texas game” coach Restrepo said about today’s game. The second leg will take place in Frisco, Texas next Tuesday, March 29th.
If Colombia wins the series and gets the spot in Rio, that will put an end to the 24-year streak of not making it to the Olympics. The last time the country participated in soccer was in Barcelona 1992 where the team finished last of its group with only 1 point after three games.
Possible lineups for today
Colombia: Cristian Bonilla; Helibelton Palacios, Yerry Mina, Davinson Sánchez, Deiver Machado; Wilmar Barrios, José David Leudo, Andrés Felipe Roa, Juan Fernando Quintero; Rafael Santos Borré and Harold Preciado. Coach: Carlos “Piscis” Restrepo.
USA: Ethan Horvath; Matt Miazga, Eric Miller, Desevio Payne; Emerson Hyndman, Jerome Kiesewetter, Will Trap, Paul Arriola, Luis Gil; Julian Green and Mario Rodríguez. Coach: Andreas Herzog.