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 Arenaâs arrival initially seemed to steady the team, the Americans ultimately won only three of the eight qualifiers he coached.
âWe didnât qualify for the World Cup,â Arena said after Tuesdayâs loss. âThat was my job.â
He added: âWe have no excuses. We failed today.â
Sunil Gulati, the president of U.S. Soccer, echoed his coachâs disappointment.
âWe certainly expected to qualify, throughout the process, and especially after Friday night,â he said, adding, âItâs a huge disappointment for everybody; the players, the staff, the coaches, the federation.
âItâs not good enough.â
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.
âThatâs for tomorrow,â 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 Tuesdayâs game needing only a win or a tie to qualify, and â after a 4-0 win over Panama on Friday that kept the Americans in control of their qualification destiny â even a loss would have done the trick if the results in the…