Elis lifts Honduras past U.S. for Olympic berth

Alberth Elis (pictured) celebrates after scoring one of his two goals in Honduras' victory over the USA in the CONCACAF Men's Olympic Qualifying Championship on October 10, 2015, in Sandy, Utah. (Photo: Mexsport)

SANDY, Utah -- Honduras booked a spot in the 2016 Olympic Games with a 2-0 semifinal win over the United States in the CONCACAF Men's Olympic Qualifying Championship at Rio Tinto Stadium on Saturday. 

Striker Alberth Elis scored two goals -- one in each half -- lifting the Hondurans into their third consecutive Olympic tournament and fourth overall. 

The Catrachos will play the Mexico-Canada semifinal winner for the championship here Tuesday. 

The Americans will meet the loser of that other semifinal in the third-place game on the same day. The victor of that match will play Colombia, the South American runner-up, in a playoff from March 21-29, 2016. 

Honduras had the better opportunities in the opening half and got on the scoreboard in the 23rd minute. Defender Kevin Alvarez delivered a right-wing cross to Elis in the penalty area. The Olimpia standout chested the ball down and eluded defender Cameron Carter-Vickers, before he drilled an eight-yard shot to the left post past goalkeeper Ethan Horvath for a 1-0 lead. 

The Americans pushed forward in the second half, opening up the game and increasing scoring opportunities on both sides of the field. 

Bryan Acosta sent a dangerous ball into the box that was deflected as U.S. center back Matt Miazga cleared it out of harm's way in the 50th minute. Elis tried to add to his scoring total off a counterattack in the 62nd minute, but his attempt went wide right. 

The USA's best opportunity came on Luis Gil's corner kick in the 64th minute. Carter-Vickers jumped over two Honduran defenders to head from point-blank range, only for goalkeeper Luis Lopez to swat away with his left hand. 

Elis connected for his second goal of the match and tournament-best fourth in the 77th minute, slipping in a right-wing feed past Horvath. 

U.S. forward Jordan Morris thought he had scored in the 83rd minute, but his goal to the left post was ruled offside.