How is it possible that the USMNT did not make it into the World Cup?
SANTA MONICA – The USMNT, the number 28 ranked team in the world, will not be headed to the World Cup next summer. After a shocking loss to the 99th ranked team, Trindad and Tobago, fans were left heartbroken and outraged.
If you are a American soccer fan, be angry, scream from the hill tops, this should never happen. #USMNT
— Maximiliano Bretos (@mbretosESPN) October 11, 2017
In what many are calling the biggest failure in US sports history, the USMNT will not be headed to the World Cup for the first time since 1986. So, how did it happen? How did the USMNT, a team full of elite players, lose to the last placed team in their hexagonal, a team that they had beat 4-0 and 2-0 in their last two face offs?
Preach. @ShakaHislop is SPOT ON. #USMNT pic.twitter.com/BaLfUCOiLt
— Matthew Santangelo (@Matt_Santangelo) October 12, 2017
The USMNT definitely weren’t playing with the fire they needed to win. So, is ESPN’s Shaka Hislop right, was it arrogance?
Be it arrogance, not taking the gravity of the situation seriously, or simply not working hard enough, the USMNT did not step up. Yes, when they got to practice the day before the field was a bit flooded. Yes, they had played a game a few days before and were tired. Yes, conditions on game day were not ideal. However, when there is this much at stake, it is the USMNT, a team full of professional soccer player’s responsibility to tough it out and play their absolute best. However, that is certainly not what the world saw.
Where was the sense of urgency from the #USMNT last night? @landondonovan told FC 85 that type of loss wouldn't have happened in his day. pic.twitter.com/9RYEibkyRr
— SiriusXM FC (@SiriusXMFC) October 11, 2017
Instead, we see that the day before the match at practice, rather than buckling down, the USMNT were romping through the pools of water on the outside of the field, and not getting much actual work done.
On Pulisic: "Conditions of the field were such today they we weren't really able to train much. We'll see tomorrow. He felt good today."
— U.S. Soccer (@ussoccer) October 9, 2017
The U.S. Soccer team even took to Twitter to discuss that the conditions on the field they were practicing on interfered with their ability to practice. However, they should have taken advantage of training in difficult conditions, after all, what better preparation was there for the game than practicing on field that was not ideal and different from what they are used to?
As coach Bruce Arena, he has taken responsibility for the loss, telling ESPN FC that, “I think it’s disappointing. It’s a blemish for us,” said Arena. “We should be not be staying home for this World Cup. I take responsibility for that.”
Ultimately, we can speculate on the reasons, look at the evidence, and hope for a change in the future, but nothing will change the fact that when the 2018 World Cup rolls around, the USMNT will not be in it.
Photos by ISI.