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

Gedion Zelalem

AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - JUNE 02: Gedion Zelalem of USA looks on during the FIFA U-20 World Cup Group A match between New Zealand and USA at the North Harbour Stadium on June 2, 2015 in Auckland, New Zealand. (Photo by Alex Livesey - FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images)

FIFA via Getty Images

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 Denmark Germany -- possibly with Philipp Lahm, but unlikely for Mesut Özil Portugal -- possibly with 2004 Olympian Cristiano Ronaldo Sweden -- possibly with Zlatan Ibrahimovic Fiji Honduras Mexico 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

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