U.S. men’s soccer loses Rio Olympic qualifier

Gedion Zelalem

The U.S. men’s under-23 soccer team lost to Honduras 2-0 with a Rio Olympic berth at stake in Sandy, Utah, on Saturday afternoon.

To qualify for Rio, the U.S. must now beat Canada on Tuesday and then beat Colombia in March in Rio de Janeiro.

The U.S. failed to qualify for the 2004 and 2012 Olympic tournaments and hasn’t won a men’s soccer medal since 1904, when the Olympic tournament included three teams.

The U.S. looked strong in the CONCACAF Olympic qualifying tournament going into the Honduras match.

It went 3-0 in group play, outscoring opponents 13-2, despite all three 2014 World Cup players who met the U-23 age requirement being omitted from the roster — John Brooks, Julian Green and DeAndre Yedlin. Brooks and Yedlin were saved for a senior national team match against Mexico on Saturday with a 2017 Confederations Cup berth at stake, though Brooks is now out due to injury.

Honduras, which qualified for its third straight Olympics, went 2-1 in its group, the loss to Mexico.

Mexico beat Canada 2-0 later Saturday to qualify for Rio. Mexico is the defending Olympic champion.

At the Olympics, Honduras fell in the group stage in 2008 and to Brazil in the quarterfinals in 2012.

The 2016 Olympic men’s soccer tournament field:

Brazil — possibly with Neymar
Argentina — 2008 Olympic champion when it had Lionel Messi
Germany — possibly with Philipp Lahm, but unlikely for Mesut Özil
Portugal — possibly with 2004 Olympian Cristiano Ronaldo
Sweden — possibly with Zlatan Ibrahimovic
U.S., Canada or Colombia
Three Asian nations determined in January
Three African nations determined in December

MORE SOCCER: FIFA says clubs don’t have to release players for Rio Olympics