US men’s soccer is back in the World Cup, and now it’s back in the Olympics.
The United States men punched their ticket to the 2024 Olympics in Paris on Friday with a 3-0 win over Honduras in the semifinals of the CONCACAF Under-20 championship. It is the first time the team has qualified for an Olympics since 2008, when they failed to make it out of group play in Beijing.
The American men got on the board early with a goal by Paxten Aaronson, a midfielder for the Philadelphia Union, in the third minute. They soon piled on two more goals from Alejandro Alvarado and Quinn Sullivan in the first half and never looked back.
The US will play the Dominican Republic in the Under-20 final on Sunday in San Pedro Sula in Honduras.
Qualifying for the Olympics isn’t as big a deal as the World Cup, but it certainly helps reinforce the idea that the US men are finally trending in the right direction.
In past qualifying cycles for the 16-team Olympic field, the US has lost out on spots in mortifying fashion, including an eliminated goal through a goalkeeper’s hands with about a minute left in 2012 and David Ochoa’s infamous howler last year.
There was no such drama this year, and now the team is headed to Paris. Olympic men’s soccer is a different animal than most international competitions, as rosters are limited to players under 23 with each country getting three players over the age maximum.