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USMNT: United States eliminated from World Cup

For the first time since 1986 the United States Men’s National Team have been eliminated from the FIFA World Cup.

On Sunday, percentages indicted that there was a three percent chance the United States wouldn’t qualify for the 2018 FIFA World Cup, which will be held in Russia.

However, due to a 2-1 loss at Trinidad and Tobago, and wins by Panama (vs. Costa Rica) and Honduras (vs. Mexico), the United States will not be booking their ticket to Russia.

The United States took the quick deficit in the match, when Omar González knocked an own goal past teammate Tim Howard. The shot went into the upper right corner of the net.

Trinidad and Tobago, who were long eliminated from the World Cup and last in the Hexagonal group, doubled their lead before the half.

Alvin Jones was the goal scorer, putting his shot past Howard in the 37′ minute.

The United States cut the lead in half in the 47′ minute, with Christian Pulisic scoring the lone goal for the United States.

After the match, many fans, former players and current players fired off on social media.

However, the biggest critic – and rightfully so – was Taylor Twellman.

Twellman featured for the United States from 2002-08, earning 30 caps.

“As a whole, U.S. Soccer is not prepared,” Twellman said on ESPN News. “They have not done a good enough job of getting this group ready to play. This is an utter embarrassment.”

Twellman agreed with fans and critics that head coach Bruce Arena and U.S. Soccer Federation President Sunil Gulati need to step down, or be fired.

“The gloves should have been off years ago!” Twellman exclaimed. “We should have been having real criticism. And the discussion after Brazil was ‘Can we beat the Colombias and the Belgiums and the Argentinas of the world?’ You kidding me? We can’t beat Trinidad on a field that’s too wet and too heavy? What are we doing? What are we doing?!”

After the match, Arena came to the defense of himself and the players.

“There’s nothing wrong with what we’re doing,” Arena said in his post-game press conference. “Nothing has to change. To make any kind of crazy changes I think would be foolish.”

The election for the new U.S. Soccer Federation president will conduct in February.

Meanwhile names like Tab Ramos, Peter Vermes and Jesse Marsch have been tossed around as replacements for Arena, who – if qualified and competing in the World Cup – only had a contract until after the tournament.

The United States missing out on its first World Cup in 32 years isn’t a positive for the direction of soccer in the United States.

“You can go around in circles a million times over again but the reality is it was all there for us, and we have nobody to blame but ourselves,” U.S. captain Michael Bradley said.

Representing CONCACAF in the 2018 FIFA World Cup are Mexico, Costa Rica and Panama. Honduras will compete with Australia in a two-leg playoff to determine the World Cup slot.

The World Cup will air on Fox Sports between June 14-July 15.

“When I look over at the bench and everyone was sitting down, I could just see from the looks on their faces that it wasn’t good,” Gonzalez said. “I just want to say sorry to the fans, all the U.S. fans that were pulling for us, that wanted to go to Russia and believed in us. We let down an entire nation today.”


Photo courtesy of John Dorton/U.S. Soccer and ISI Images.

Follow @RachaelMcKriger for all U.S. Soccer coverage.

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Rachael McKriger
Sports Journalist

Rachael McKriger writes for RSEN Report (Lead Editor), Pittsburgh Sports Castle (Content Editor), Mon Goals and W2M Network, in addition to being a sports stringer/reporter for the Mon Valley Independent newspaper.

A senior of California Univ. of Pennsylvania, you can follow her on Twitter, @RachaelMcKriger, where you can find all of her articles. Search “McKriger Photography” on Facebook, to see her photos.

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