USA suffer rare World Cup agony

Christian Pulisic

Christian Pulisic has been a bright spark in the US’s campaign but will have to wait at least another four years to make his World Cup debut

The United States failed to qualify for the World Cup for the first time since 1986 after losing to Trinidad & Tobago and a controversial goal for Panama.

The US started the night in the third qualifying place but ended up fifth after losing 2-1.

Panama jumped up to third after an 88th-minute winner against Costa Rica to reach their first World Cup finals.

However, it was their opening goal that caused debate with Gabriel Torres’ header not appearing to cross the line.

The 52nd-minute equaliser came from a corner with Torres’ effort hitting the post and as Blas Perez tried to force the ball over the line, Ticos defender Ronald Matarrita looked to have cleared it.

However, despite complaints from the visitors, referee Walter Lopez of Guatemala gave the goal.

Honduras beat already-qualified group winners Mexico to also leapfrog the US and secure fourth spot in the table and a two-leg play-off against Australia.

The US beat Panama 4-0 just last Friday but, despite playing a Trinidad & Tobago side with just three points from nine games before kick-off, never looked close to securing a place in Russia.

“We had everything there for us,” coach Bruce Arena said.

“We failed on the day. No excuses. We failed today. We should have walked off this field with at least a point. We should not be staying at home for this World Cup and I take responsibility.”

Omar Gonzalez stretched to cut out a cross and only succeeded in steering the ball past veteran goalkeeper Tim Howard, before Alvin Jones rocketed in a superb 35-yard strike to double the hosts’ lead.

Borussia Dortmund teenager – and star of the win in Panama – Christian Pulisic gave the US hope soon after the restart with a fine long-range goal of his own, but with Honduras beating Mexico it looked like a play-off place for the States.

And then, with time running out in Panama City, Torres – who plays his club football in Seattle – latched on to a long ball forwards and smashed in off the crossbar to send Panama through and leave the US in the wilderness.

Roman Torres<!–

Centre-back Roman Torres was the hero for Panama with an 88th-minute winner

‘The most surreal and embarrassing night in US soccer history’

In contrast to Panama, the United States has a population of 323.1 million. Their opponents on Tuesday, Trinidad and Tobago, have a population of 1.3m – roughly the same as the US state of Maine.

Described as the “most surreal and embarrassing night in US soccer history” and “simply devastating” by American journalists, the players were left in tears following their shock 2-1 loss.

“It’s a blemish for us. We should not be staying at home for this World Cup and I take responsibility,” coach Bruce Arena said.

“We failed on the day. No excuses. We failed. We should have walked off this field with at least a point.”

Brody Logan<!–

This is the first time the US have failed to qualify for the World Cup since 1986

Captain Michael Bradley described the night as the “perfect storm.”

“Everything that could have possibly gone wrong did, in this stadium and in two other stadiums across the region,” he added.

“To give away the first goal like that [on an own goal] is a killer. But the reality is it was all there for us, and we have nobody to blame but ourselves.”

Twitter/Landon Donovan<!–

A draw would have been enough for the United States to automatically qualify

Live Text

Match ends, Trinidad and Tobago 2, USA 1.

Second Half ends, Trinidad and Tobago 2, USA 1.

Matt Besler (USA) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Foul by Matt Besler (USA).

Trevin Caesar (Trinidad and Tobago) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Attempt missed. Omar González (USA) header from the centre of the box is just a bit too high. Assisted by Michael Bradley with a cross following a corner.

Corner, USA. Conceded by Curtis Gonzales.

Joevin Jones (Trinidad and Tobago) is shown the yellow card.

Attempt missed. Alvin Jones (Trinidad and Tobago) right footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses to the left from a direct free kick.

Omar González (USA) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Foul by Omar González (USA).

Trevin Caesar (Trinidad and Tobago) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Benny Feilhaber (USA).

Joevin Jones (Trinidad and Tobago) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Corner, USA. Conceded by Adrian Foncette.

Attempt saved. Bobby Wood (USA) header from the centre of the box is saved in the bottom right corner. Assisted by Christian Pulisic with a cross.

Christian Pulisic (USA) wins a free kick on the right wing.

Foul by Joevin Jones (Trinidad and Tobago).

Attempt saved. Trevin Caesar (Trinidad and Tobago) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom left corner. Assisted by Alvin Jones.

Attempt saved. Jozy Altidore (USA) right footed shot from a difficult angle on the right is saved in the top right corner.

Substitution, USA. Benny Feilhaber replaces Darlington Nagbe.

Substitution, Trinidad and Tobago. Kevon Villaroel replaces Tristan Hodge.

Attempt blocked. Khaleem Hyland (Trinidad and Tobago) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

Delay over. They are ready to continue.

Delay in match Tristan Hodge (Trinidad and Tobago) because of an injury.

Attempt missed. Joevin Jones (Trinidad and Tobago) right footed shot from outside the box misses to the left.

Substitution, Trinidad and Tobago. Trevin Caesar replaces Shahdon Winchester.

Foul by Christian Pulisic (USA).

Joevin Jones (Trinidad and Tobago) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Clint Dempsey (USA) hits the right post with a left footed shot from outside the box. Assisted by Kellyn Acosta.

Foul by DeAndre Yedlin (USA).

Joevin Jones (Trinidad and Tobago) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Substitution, USA. Kellyn Acosta replaces Jorge Flores Villafaña.

Substitution, Trinidad and Tobago. Joevin Jones replaces Levi García.

Attempt saved. Clint Dempsey (USA) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom left corner. Assisted by Darlington Nagbe.

Attempt blocked. Jozy Altidore (USA) header from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Michael Bradley with a cross.

Corner, USA. Conceded by Adrian Foncette.

Attempt saved. Clint Dempsey (USA) right footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the top right corner. Assisted by Michael Bradley.

Tristan Hodge (Trinidad and Tobago) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Jozy Altidore (USA) wins a free kick on the right wing.

USA suffer rare World Cup agony

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