The United States men's soccer team suffered a stunning 2-1 loss to Trinidad and Tobago on Tuesday night that prevented them from qualifying for the 2018 World Cup in Russia, an embarrassing result that strikes an immeasurable blow to the sport's growth in the country.
Trinidad and Tobago, which has a population of 1.3 million people, were ranked last in the final round of CONCACAF qualifying entering the match, and had nothing to play for after winning just one of their previous nine matches in the six-team group. The defeat meant the U.S. finished fifth in the final round of CONCACAF qualifying, as Panama and Honduras leapfrogged them after unexpected victories over Mexico and Costa Rica, respectively.
The World Cup will proceed without the United States next summer for the first time since 1986, with Mexico, Costa Rica and Panama representing North America. Honduras will face Australia in a playoff for a chance to be the fourth team to represent the continent.