Oct. 10 will go down in the books as a date not to remember for the USMNT when it comes to World Cup qualifying. On Oct. 10, 2017, the USA suffered a 2-1 loss to Trinidad & Tobago in Couva, Trinidad. That result eliminated the U.S. from contention from the 2018 World Cup.
COUVA, Trinidad — The unthinkable occurred Tuesday night.
The United States crashed out of contention for the World Cup in stunning fashion Tuesday night, dropping a 2-1 decision to last-place Trinidad & Tobago at Ato Boldon Stadium.
The Americans failed to reach soccer’s promised land for the first time in more than a generation, or since 1986. They had participated in seven consecutive World Cups since Italia ’90.
“We failed today. We have no excuses,” U.S. head coach Bruce Arena said. “We should have walked off this field with at least a point.”
The U.S. (3-4-3, 12 points), which started the day in third place, had qualified for seven consecutive World Cups since 1986. Panama qualified as the third place side and Honduras finished fourth and will play Australia in a special playoff in November.
The Soca Warriors (2-8-0, 6) finished last in the Concacaf Hexagonal.
T&T came out with much energy and purpose while the Americans were flat and never recovered.
Arena gave credit to the Soca Warriors.
“Their energy in dropping off was good,” he said. “They were in good spots. Our center backs were not confident enough with the ball.”
Arena decided to use the same lineup he utilized in the 4-0 romp over Panama in Orlando, Fla. Friday.
T&T surprised the U.S. with two stunning first-half goals.
First, Alvin Jones sliced in a right-wing cross that American center back Omar Gonzalez somehow deflected into his own net past goalkeeper Tim Howard for a 1-0 Trinidad lead in the 17th minute.
Jones was far from finished. He found himself open on the right side and unleashed a 35-yard shot that found its way into the left corner past a diving Howard for a 2-0 advantage.
“An incredible shot,” Arena said.
Two minutes into the second half, 19-year-old midfielder Christian Pulisic sliced the lead in half for the U.S., powering a shot from the top of the penalty arc past goalkeeper Adrian Foncette.
The keeper came up huge for T&T in the 69th minute, parrying away second-half sub Clint Dempsey’s shot from atop the penalty area.
Eight minutes later, Dempsey endured even more frustration as his shot glanced off the right post.
Foncette denied a last-ditch attempt by the U.S., diving to his left to knock away Bobby Wood’s six-yard header in the 88th minute.
“Our forwards were not able to hold the ball,” Arena said. “They did a poor job there. We could not get Pulisic into the game.”
Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
USA 0 1 1
TRI 2 0 2
TRI – Own Goal (Omar Gonzalez) 17th minute
TRI – Alvin Jones (Nathan Lewis) 37
USA – Christian Pulisic 47
USA: 1-Tim Howard, 2-DeAndre Yedlin, 3-Omar Gonzalez, 5-Matt Besler, 15-Jorge Villafaña (23-Kellyn Acosta, 72), 4-Michael Bradley (capt.), 21-Paul Arriola (8-Clint Dempsey, 46), 10-Christian Pulisic, 6-Darlington Nagbe (16-Benny Feilhaber, 84), 9-Bobby Wood, 17-Jozy Altidore
Subs not used: 12-Brad Guzan, 22-Nick Rimando, 7-DaMarcus Beasley, 11-Alejandro Bedoya, 13-Dax McCarty, 14-Tim Ream, 18-Chris Wondolowski, 19-Graham Zusi, 20-Geoff Cameron
Head coach: Bruce Arena
TRI: 22-Adrian Foncette, 5-Daneil Cyrus, 7-Nathan Lewis, 8-Khaleem Hyland (capt.), 9-Shahdon Winchester (20-Trevin Caesar, 78), 13-Curtis Gonzales, 16-Levi Garcia (3-Joevin Jones, 72), 17-Alvin Jones, 18-Triston Hodge (4-Kevon Villaroel, 81), 19-Kevan George, 23-Leston Paul
Subs not used: 1-Glenroy Samuel, 21-Gregory Ranjitsingh, 2-Kareem Moses, 6-Josiah Trimmingham, 10-Karl Duane Muckette, 11-Neil Benjamin, 12-Kathon St. Hillaire, 14-Akeem Roach, 15-Jared London
Head coach: Dennis Lawrence
Stats Summary: USA / TRI
Shots: 15 / 11
Shots on Goal: 6 / 5
Saves: 3 / 5
Corner Kicks: 5 / 2
Fouls: 18 / 11
Offside: 3 / 3
TRI – Triston Hodge (caution) 68th minute
USA – Omar Gonzalez (caution) 90+1
TRI – Joevin Jones (caution) 90+3
USA – Matt Besler (caution) 90+5
Referee: Juan Carlos Guerra (GUA)
Assistant Referee 1: Ronaldo de la Cruz (GUA)
Assistant Referee 2: David Moran (SLV)
Fourth Official: Fernando Guerrero (MEX)
Man of the Match: TBD