(WVUE) - Welcome in to Juan's World and welcome back to reality, Team USA. For the first time since 1986, the Stars and Stripes will NOT be in the World Cup. Let me repeat that. For the first time since 1986, U.S.A. will NOT be in the World Cup. The biggest country in the region. By far, the wealthiest country in the region. But, in the world's game, being the biggest and strongest and richest guarantees nothing in a game that can be so cruel. And the US found this out the hard way Tuesday night.
Losing in Trinidad and Tobago 2-1. Mind you, TnT's chances of qualifying were dashed months ago. They came into the game with just three points and sat way back in last place in the five team group.
But, on this night, TnT got what they deserved and so did USA. Two early goals, one, an on-goal, and the second, a long shot that goalkeeper Tim Howard should've done better with, were enough to do Team USA in.
It was the perfect storm. On a night when the US needed a win to automatically qualify or a tie to go into the playoff, they got neither. Because the teams below them, most notably Panama and Honduras, got the results they needed. Both won their games and leap-frogged the US in the standings. Everything that could happen badly for Bruce Arena's team, did. And because of it, they'll have next summer off while thirty-two other teams will be in Russia playing in the World Cup.
This is a crippling blow to a nation, the US, that's got a thriving professional league. And yet, they can't produce the level of player that can get this team into the worlds biggest tournament.
It all started badly with Jurgen Klinsmann. His tactics had grown tiring and unsuccessful. Hence, why the federation made a change and brought in Bruce Arena.
In the end, not even Arena could get this team where they expected to be. And now it all mist be torn up and rebuilt. What the nation is putting on the field just isn't good enough. The model is not working.
Yes, I'm frustrated...as should every soccer fan in this country. Team USA is supposed to be in the World Cup every year. The problem is, the smaller nations like Mexico, Costa Rica, Panama and Honduras didn't get that memo. And if they had, they would've tossed it aside anyway...kinda like how tiny Trinidad and Tobago did with the US tonight.
Juan's World, Juan's World..Excellent!!!!