It’s like my grandfather used to tell me, “Así es el fútbol.” That’s soccer.
The United States Men’s National Team on Tuesday was knocked out of the 2018 World Cup in Russia following an unlikely flurry of goals on the last day of North American qualifying. Seven of them to be precise, all of which occurred during the same two-hour stretch:
First Trinidad and Tobago scored two goals to stun the USMNT in the water-logged town of Couva. The Americans lost 2-1 against an eliminated country that played inspired, spoiler-rich soccer.
Then Honduras rallied from a 2-1 deficit to beat Mexico 3-2.
The Honduras win, coupled with the U.S. loss, sent the Americans to an intercontinental playoff against Australia for a last-chance bid into the World Cup. But then Panama’s Roman Torres, who plays professionally for Major League Soccer’s Seattle Sounders, scored a miracle goal to down Costa Rica 2-1 in the 88th minute. Adios, World Cup.
The simultaneous, whirlwind action sent Mexico, Costa Rica, and Panama to the World Cup on behalf of North America—with Honduras, and not the U.S., set to play against Australia for the final berth next month.
The U.S. misses its first World Cup since 1986, and the loss marks the end of the road for national team stalwarts Tim Howard and Clint Dempsey.
Veteran soccer journalist Grant Wahl called it the “most surreal and embarrassing night in U.S. soccer history.” The chaos made “#USMNT” the No. 1 trending topic in the U.S. on Tuesday night.
Just when it looked like America might care about soccer.