TODAY IS Saturday August 18th
U.S. men out of World Cup hunt
Wednesday Oct 11, 2017 12:00am

(COUVA, TRINIDAD) - With World Cup qualification seemingly in their grasp, the Americans lost 2-1 to Trinidad and Tobago on Tuesday night. Coupled with Honduras' 3-2 victory over Mexico and Panama's 2-1 victory over Costa Rica, the U.S. finished fifth in CONCACAF's Hexagonal round, out of the running to qualify for Russia 2018. There's no other way to describe it: This was a debacle on a countless number of levels. The task seemed straightforward enough -- avoid defeat and you're in. But as it has so often during this World Cup cycle, the U.S. insisted on making life as difficult as possible and now has paid the ultimate price, failing to qualify for the World Cup for the first time since the 1986 cycle. The Americans fell behind in the 17th minute on an own goal by Omar Gonzalez. Alvin Jones doubled the home side's advantage 20 minutes later with a 30 yard blast that cleanly beat U.S. keeper Tim Howard. Even worse was that Trinidad and Tobago was fully deserving of its lead. U.S. striker Jozy Altidore missed a massive opportunity in the seventh minute when he blasted a shot over the crossbar, but after that, the Soca Warriors were stringing passes all over the Ato Boldon Stadium pitch, making the U.S. chase. The home side was also finding opportunities in transition, which was the last thing the U.S. wanted given T&T's speed and athleticism. The Americans looked slow and lethargic and showed none of the energy that characterized their 4-0 hammering of Panama four days earlier. Manager Bruce Arena brought on Clint Dempsey for the disappointing Paul Arriola, and the U.S. was soon back in the match as Christian Pulisic's drive from distance in the 47th minute halved the deficit. Now the U.S. will have the coming months to contemplate how this World Cup qualification got away.

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