The United States women's national team are safely through to the Olympics after winning the CONCACAF Olympic qualifying tournament a few weeks ago. The same cannot be said for the U-23 men's team, however. After failing to qualify four years ago, the young American team is two playoff matches away from another failure.
USA legend Landon Donovan says that if this happens it would be a failure for the whole men's soccer program.
"At this point in our history, any tournament we don't qualify for is a failure," Donovan told The Salt Lake Tribune. "We should be, in this region, we should either be the best or very close to the best team in the region, so it's important for us. It's important for us to continue qualifying for these events. We have to."
It's been a rocky cycle for Andi Herzog and the under-23 national team with poor results and a stagnant player pool. It wasn't until the graduation of several U-20 players that the pool received a shot in the arm.
Their upcoming two-match playoff with Colombia later this month will surely be difficult. They'll even likely enter it as underdogs. Failing to prevail and make it to Rio de Janeiro for the 2016 Summer Olympics would certainly bring about a lot of questions for the entire federation from Sunil Gulati to Jurgen Klinsmann about what needs to be done to ensure qualification in the future.