United States to Miss World Cup After Loss in Trinidad and Tobago

The result in Trinidad and Tobago completed a slow-starting and, ultimately, devastating campaign for the United States. The path through qualifying had been full of pivotal moments; the team switched coaches after losing its first two qualifiers of the final round, firing Jurgen Klinsmann and rehiring Bruce Arena for a second stint leading the team. While Arena’s arrival initially seemed to steady the team, the Americans ultimately won only three of the eight qualifiers he coached.

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Trinidad and Tobago’s Alvin Jones (17) celebrating with his teammates after scoring from 35 yards out to give his squad a 2-0 lead against the United States.

Credit
Rebecca Blackwell/Associated Press

“We didn’t qualify for the World Cup,” Arena said after Tuesday’s loss. “That was my job.”

He added: “We have no excuses. We failed today.”

Sunil Gulati, the president of U.S. Soccer, echoed his coach’s disappointment.

“We certainly expected to qualify, throughout the process, and especially after Friday night,” he said, adding, “It’s a huge disappointment for everybody; the players, the staff, the coaches, the federation.

“It’s not good enough.”

Gulati, who is expected to face his first contested election for the U.S. Soccer presidency in February, said he would make no decisions about the future of the program in the immediate aftermath of the defeat.

“That’s for tomorrow,” he said. He declined to say whether Arena would coach the team through the end of his contract, which runs through the end of the 2018 World Cup.

Arena and his team entered Tuesday’s game needing only a win or a tie to qualify, and — after a 4-0 win over Panama on Friday that kept the Americans in control of their qualification destiny — even a loss would have done the trick if the results in the…

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