COUVA, Trinidad and Tobago – Trinidad and Tobago defeated the US 2-1 in a qualifying match for the 2018 World Cup in Russia, leaving the Americans out of the international soccer tournament for the first time since 1986.
“It’s a blemish for us,” Team USA coach Bruce Arena said. “We should not be staying home for this World Cup and I take the responsibility for that.”
American defender Omar Gonzalez scored an own goal in the 17th minute, helping Trinidad and Tobago’s cause.
“We let down an entire nation today,” Gonzalez said after Tuesday’s match.
Trinidad’s momentum picked up after the gaffe by Gonzalez.
“We foolishly brought Trinidad into the game with the own goal,” Arena said. “That was a big goal for Trinidad psychologically. That got them motivated.”
Trinidad’s Alvin Jones made it 2-0 in the 37th minute.
American Christian Pulisic scored a goal in the 47th minute, helping put the US back in the match.
Team USA just needed a tie to qualify for the World Cup, where it had made seven straight appearances.
The combination of the loss and Panama’s 2-1 win over Costa Rica plus Honduras’s 3-2 victory over Mexico doomed the US.
“You can go around in circles a million times over again, but the reality is that it was all there for us and we have nobody to blame but ourselves,” Team USA captain Michael Bradley said.