The United States qualified for its first Olympic men’s soccer tournament since 2008, when the Americans defeated Honduras 3–0 in San Pedro Sula on Friday night in the semifinals of the Under-20 Championships of North and Central America and the Caribbean.
Philadelphia Union’s Paxton Aarons, the 18-year-old brother of Leeds midfielder Brendan Aarons, scored in the third minute.
Alejandro Alvarado, who made four appearances last season for Portugal’s Vizella, added a goal in 23rd, and Quinn Sullivan, Aaronson’s Philadelphia teammate, scored in 43rd, as the US won a 16-nation field in the 2024 Olympic tournament. Earned a berth in France.
Olympic men’s football is limited to players under the age of 23, with each country allowing up to three wild cards in excess of the limit. After America failed in three straight qualifying cycles with several clubs refusing to provide top players, CONCACAF changed qualifying from under-23 teams and included it as part of the under-20 championship.
The Americas were eliminated from 2012 Olympic qualifying when Sean Johnson allowed a Jaime Alas goal to go out of his hands in second-half stoppage time, giving El Salvador a 3–3 draw in the Americans’ group stage final. .
The Americans lost the 2016 Olympic qualification game 2–0 to El Salvador, then were beaten 3–2 in a two-leg playoff by Colombia for another berth.
The United States lost 2-1 to Honduras in last year’s Olympic qualification game as goalkeeper David Ochoa gifted a goal when he caught an opponent’s ball in his own net.
The Dominican Republic also secured a berth after beating Guatemala 4-2 on penalty kicks after a 2-2 draw.
The four quarter-final winners of CONCACAF qualified for the 24 nations field at the Under-20 World Cup to be played in Indonesia from 20 May to 11 June next year.
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