For the first time in 27 years, the United States men’s national soccer team will not make an appearance at the FIFA World Cup after being defeated by the Trinidad and Tobago national soccer team on Tuesday.
According to ESPN’s Soccer Power Index, the U.S. men’s team had a 93 percent chance to clinch a spot at the 2018 World Cup, which will be hosted by Russia from June 14 to July 15 next year.
For the U.S. men’s team to qualify for the World Cup, it simply had to beat or tie with the Trinidad and Tobago team, which had only won one out of its last nine qualifying matches and is currently ranked 99th in the world by FIFA.
The match against Trinidad and Tobago looked grim from the beginning when U.S. player Omar Gonzalez scored on his own goal at the 17th minute. The U.S. men’s team soon found itself at a 2-0 deficit at the 37th minute when Trinidad and Tobago’s Alvin Jones was able to score a goal.
Ten minutes after Jones scored, Christian Pulisic from the U.S. men’s team was able to respond with a goal of his own.
The U.S. men’s team was playing a passive backline and had a lone midfielder, a risk that obviously did not pay off as Trinidad and Tobago easily picked it apart and went up early in the first half.
By the second half, the U.S. men’s team switched out two of its attackers in order to change the momentum of the match, but it was its midfield and defense setup that let the U.S. men’s team down.
Changes to the game plan in the second half did not help the fatigued U.S. men’s team and the match was at a standstill until the whistle blew at the 90-minute mark.
The next time the U.S. men’s team will have a chance to qualify for a spot at the World Cup is when it will be hosted by Qatar in 2022.
The qualification process for the 2022 World Cup has not been announced yet.