It will, in all likelihood, go down as the worst day in the history of US Soccer.
Qualification for the World Cup looked almost certain, but a 2-1 loss to Trinidad & Tobago means that the USMNT won’t be going to Russia this summer. Victories for Panama and Honduras over Costa Rica and Mexico respectively sent the Americans plummeting from 3rd to 5th in the CONCACAF Hexagonal.
Trinidad & Tobago, the worst team in the Hex, took an early 2-0 lead via an own goal and a wonder-strike from Alvin Jones. Christian Pulisic got a goal back for the US, but it wasn’t enough.
All they needed was a draw to qualify, but the second goal never came.
Pulisic did his part, and at less than 100% health too. But quite frankly he was let down by US Soccer management and by the other players.
Imagine where the USMNT would be right now without Pulisic. He had to drag Bruce Arena’s squad just to get to them this point. Without his influence they might not have even had a chance to qualify on the final day.
Even the most talented American soccer player of all time couldn’t cover up for the rest of a mediocre and malaise-filled squad. It’s 2017 and they’re still relying heavily on guys like Tim Howard, Michael Bradley, and Omar Gonzalez. The pool of available players has improved, but squad and lineup selection often doesn’t reflect that.
And it doesn’t help when the players show a complete lack of urgency in one of the most urgent situations imaginable.
I’m American and I wanted this team to succeed. But maybe now US Soccer will wake up and address some of the real systemic issues holding back the beautiful game in this country.
And another silver-lining: Pulisic will now be available for Dortmund’s preseason in the summer, which includes a tour of, you guessed it, the United States.