By Amon Kehr
The United States hit a new low Tuesday night, as it lost 2-1 against Trinidad and Tobago, failing to qualify for the World Cup. Going into the game, the U.S. was in good position to qualify. It was in third in the CONCACAF table and needed a draw to move on. For the U.S. to not go through, it needed to lose to Trinidad, Panama needed to beat Costa Rica and Honduras needed to beat Mexico. As improbable as it was, all of those things happened. The U.S. failed to get even a point from its game with Trinidad while Panama won in dramatic fashion against Costa Rica. Honduras came from behind in its game against Mexico to snatch last spot from the U.S. One point separated the U.S. from Panama and Honduras for a spot in this summer’s big tournament.
The game against Trinidad was supposed to be an easy one for the U.S. Trinidad had nothing to play for, as it was in last place and had been eliminated from the World Cup. Trinidad pulled ahead in the game in the 17th minute with an own goal from U.S. center back Omar Gonzalez. While trying to clear a cross, Gonzalez mishit the ball and sent it looping backward into his own net just over Tim Howard’s outstretched hands. The next goal came in the 37th minute with Alvin Jones’ long-range shot from well outside of the box. The U.S. was able to get one back with Christian Pulisic’s goal from just outside of the box. In the end, it was not enough as the U.S. was not able to get the second goal it so desperately needed.
The U.S. had qualified for seven consecutive World Cups before snapping the streak on Tuesday. It is the first time since 1986 that the U.S. has not qualified for the World Cup. It’s next competitive match will not be until the CONCACAF Gold Cup in the summer of 2019. Coach Bruce Arena has resigned. Sunil Gulati, the president of the United States Soccer Federation, said that he will not step down. There will be an election for a new President in February. The loss is possibly the worst in United States’ soccer history.