Team USA To Miss World Cup Thanks To Embarrassing Own Goal And Terrible Referee Decision

Bryan Brandom
(Photo: Getty Images)

Team USA needed a win or a tie in their Tuesday-night matchup with Trinidad and Tobago to punch their ticket to the World Cup.

They did neither, and in embarrassing fashion.

The USMNT squad lost 2-1, and the first goal against them came from one of their own’s left foot—defenseman Omar Gonzalez lazily attempted to clear a cross in the 17th minute, only for the ball to skip off his foot, float over the head of goalkeeper Tim Howard, and fall into the net.

Team USA will miss the World Cup for the first time since 1986, a run of seven straight tournaments.

“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 that believed in us,” Gonzalez said after the loss. “We let down an entire nation today.”

The team still could have qualified for the World Cup had other matches gone their way.

But they didn’t.

Honduras and Panama both recorded shocking upsets to get into the tournament and dash America’s hopes.

Panama got help from an amazingly bad refereeing error.

Their first goal in their 2-1 win over Costa Rica blatantly should not have counted.

By rule, the entire ball has to cross the line for a goal to stand.

This is the closest it got—not really that close at all.

In November 2016, Bruce Arena was hired for his second stint as the Team USA manager. The team won three of eight qualifying matches under him.

“We didn’t qualify for the World Cup,” Arena said after the embarrassing loss. “That was my job. … We have no excuses. We failed today.”