The United States had made it to SEVEN consecutive World Cups (the longest streak in CONCACAF) and just needed a win (or a draw for the playoffs) to confirm their spot at Russia 2018.
They were playing Trinidad and Tobago, a team that was bottom of the Hex and had lost EIGHT of their nine games going into this clash.
It seemed pretty simple, on paper. But here were the evening’s results!
Honduras 3-2 Mexico
Panama 2-1 Costa Rica
Trinidad 2-1 United States
Panama’s win over already qualified Costa Rica gave them their maiden World Cup ticket, and Honduras’ shock win over Mexico and the United States’ shock loss against Trinidad saw the former take the playoff spot and the latter eliminated.
So the United States, with a population of 323 million, were eliminated by Trinidad and Tobago (1.3mn). In Europe, tiny Iceland, with a population of 334,000, made it to the World Cup. The US are not in bad company- the likes of Netherlands, Wales, Chile (who effectively went out BECAUSE of a walkover) and Ghana failed to make it as well. Watch Taylor Twellman’s post match rant below.
Is it time for mass resignations outside USMNT HQ? Time for Sunil Gulati and Bruce Arena to hand in their papers? A revamp of the existing structures in the US?