US miss 1st FIFA World Cup in 3 decades after 2-1 loss to Trinidad & Tobago
“We have no excuses. We failed today. We should have walked off this field with at least a point,” said US coach Bruce Arena following the match at Ato Boldon Stadium in the small town of Couva, Trinidad and Tobago.
The score was 2-0 by the 36th minute, and even with Christian Pulisic’s goal after the break, the Americans failed to find an equalizer.
Before the final qualification round, the US was sitting 3rd in the standings among the six remaining CONCACAF nations competing for 3 spots. However, due to Panama beating Costa Rica and Honduras upsetting log leaders Mexico, the US slipped to 5th place.
“It's a blemish for us,” Arena added, as cited by ESPN FC. “We should not be staying at home for this World Cup. And I take responsibility.”
Tuesday's defeat marks a new chapter in American soccer history, making it the first time the US has failed to qualify for the tournament since the 1986 World Cup held in Mexico.
Prior to that, the US team failed to qualify for eight consecutive World Cup tournaments – spanning over thirty years – since the 1954 competition which was held in Switzerland.
Every four years, 32 teams from around the globe play in the FIFA World Cup to determine the best team on the planet. Russia will host the next year's football showpiece from June 14 to July 15.