The United States Under-23 National Team entered their final match of Group A play in need of a victory to advance in the qualifying for the Summer Olympics.
Standing in their way, however, was a resilient El Salvador squad that gave the Americans every thing they could handle, right up until the 90th minute.
The Americans led late in the match until a shot in stoppage time slipped past the hands of goalkeeper Sean Johnson, who replaced an injured Bill Hamid in the 39th minute.
That shot knotted the game at 3-3 and ended the United States dreams of advancing.
The back-and-forth affair saw both teams lead at different points in the match. The US led 1-0 and 3-2, but were unable to eliminate mistakes from their game and squandered away both leads.
Although the defeat is painful, there are positives the Red, White, and Blue can take away from the game.
After trailing 2-1, the Americans rallied with two goals of their own to take a 3-2 lead. Both goals were assisted by Freddy Adu, another bright spot in the defeat.
“It’s a painful moment,” said U.S. Olympic Team Head Coach Caleb Porter in an interview on MLS.com.
“The players are devastated. To put in as much as they put into that game, the amount of heart that they put in, to play the way they played in the second half. To be behind and score two goals. To be seconds away from getting the No. 1 seed. It’s unimaginable.”
USMNT Head Coach Jurgen Klinsmann was also in attendance for the game, and spoke to the team after the match.
“I went in the locker room after the game and I gave them big compliments for what they did tonight, what they showed tonight,” said Klinsmann in an interview on MLS.com.
He added: “That is very important for us to see that we are on the right path here in terms of style of play.”
With World Cup qualifying beginning this summer, Klinsmann will have to evaluate the talent and players he wants to move forward with towards the 2014 World Cup.