The United States for the first time in three decades will not be in the World Cup, and will watch the event from home like the rest of us.
The United States men’s soccer team failed to qualify to the 2018 FIFA World Cup following a 2-1 loss to Trinidad and Tobago on Tuesday, Oct.10, the team’s first time missing the World Cup since 1986.
The men’s national team went into the final game of World Cup qualifying having just won an important game on Friday, Oct. 6 at home against Panama, 4-0.
The team came into the game on Tuesday in third place with 12 points on the CONCACAF standings with a record of 3-3-3 and needed a win or a tie to ensure that their World Cup campaign would continue.
Their opponents, Trinidad and Tobago, came into the game with a 1-8 overall record and were last in the standings.
With a win, the USMNT would have finished with 15 points and would have clinched the third place spot with an ensured trip to Russia.
A tie would have clinched a fourth place spot in the standings that would send the team into a two game playoff with Australia in which the winner will advance.
All the teams in CONCACAF played on Tuesday night, which meant possible fluctuation in the standings.
The United States played away at Trinidad and Tobago at the Ato Boldon Stadium in a generally empty stadium in search for a win.
Meanwhile, fifth place Honduras (2-4-3) hosted first place Mexico (6-0-3) and fourth place Panama (2-4-3) hosted second place Costa Rica (4-1-4).
The shocking loss has brought even more criticism to a team that declined since an impressive run at the 2014 World Cup.
The team has had an inconsistent roster and Bruce Arena replaced former coach Jurgen Klinsmann a year ago with the job of getting the team to the World Cup after a slow start in qualifying under Klinsmann.
“We should not be staying home for this World Cup.” Arena said. “I take the responsibility for that.”
Arena resigned as coach of the USMNT on Friday, Oct. 13.
The soccer team were asked about the national team, and the overall impression was disbelief and disappointment.
Midfielder Esmeralda Guzman was surprised that the US failed to qualify against lowly Trinidad and Tobago.
“It’s weird, I didn’t expect them them to lose, I thought they were in.” said Guzman. “ They [Trinidad and Tobago] barely had points. I was shocked.”
Midfielder Diana Salonga has shifted her focus on the US women’s national team, who is a powerhouse in women’s international soccer.
“On Twitter I saw everyone making fun of the men’s United States team for not making it [World Cup] but everyone was proud of the women’s team for making it, or who continue to make it.” Salonga said.
Head Coach Adolfo Perez was disappointed with the United States for not qualifying because he explained that in a group of six teams with 3.5 spots available, the United States had such a good chance to qualify.
“It’s embarrassing.” said Perez “It should not happen. There is no excuse for it. I think it’s going to set soccer back a few years.”