By an interesting confluence of circumstances, the U.S. will not be going to Russia to play soccer in the 2018 World Cup.
They seemed to have a slot locked up, trailing only Mexico in regional qualifying, but they lost to Trinidad and Tobago, meaning that the Yanks will be excluded for the first time since 1986.
The U.S. was eliminated when they lost to T & T by a narrow 2 – 1 score, ending their run of seven straight appearances.
The Yanks spotted T & T a goal off U.S defender Omar Gonzalez.
Speaking with the Associated Press, Gonzalez said, “We let an entire nation down today.”
News Flash Mr. Gonzalez, you only let down a partial nation. Soccer is as fringy of a fringe sport as can be found in the U.S. Trolling people on social media is the current national pastime. Most would think that Trinidad and Tobago is two countries. “Wait, why did we have to play two countries simultaneously?”
U.S. Coach Bruce “Stadium” Arena said, “We foolishly brought Trinidad into the game with the own goal. That was a big goal for Trinidad psychologically. That got them motivated.”
The other confluence of circumstance that relegated the U.S. to World Cup spectator status was the 3 – 2 win by Honduras over Mexico and Panama’s 2 – 1 victory over Costa Rica.
The Americans are ranked 28th in the world and needed nothing other than a draw against 99th ranked T & T to get into the World Cup.
The defeat dropped them from third place to fifth in the North and Central American and Caribbean Region.
The shake up to the natural order means that the Socceroos will be playing Honduras in a two-game playoff in November for one of the 32 World Cup slots.
In actuality, soccer has been gaining traction in the U.S. for the past 25 years, thanks to concerted efforts by the U.S. Soccer Federation and help from corporate sponsors and broadcasters. Major League Soccer, the American professional league, has gained a following, thanks to the ability of U.S. teams to poach international players with the lure of princely salaries.