US knocked out after shock loss to Trinidad & Tobago
Couva, Trinidad and Tobago - The United States failed to qualify for the World Cup for the first time since 1986 on Tuesday, crashing to a shock 1-2 defeat against alreadyeliminated Trinidad & Tobago.
In a result that will be viewed as a catastrophe for football in the US, Trinidad took all three points via an Omar Gonzalez own goal and a superb strike from Alvin Jones.
US star Christian Pulisic pulled a goal back in the second half, but the increasingly desperate Americans were unable to find another to rescue their hopes.
Its exit was confirmed by results in Tuesday's other CONCACAF qualifiers, where Panama booked its place at the World Cup for the first time with a 2-1 win over Costa Rica in Panama City.
Honduras then snatched fourth place in the table with a 3-2 win over Mexico, who had already qualified.
The Hondurans will now face Australia in a two-legged playoff next month for a place in the finals. But the shock of the night was the US failure at the final hurdle.
Shell-shocked US coach Bruce Arena said his team had "failed."
"Clearly we are very disappointed. We had everything there for us today. No excuses for us not getting a second goal and coming away with at least a point," Arena said.
"It's a blemish for us. We should not be staying at home for this World Cup and I take responsibility.
We failed on the day: Arena
"It never mattered to us the scores of the other games. We failed on the day. No excuses. We failed today. We should have walked off this field with at least a point."
Arena's side had needed only a draw at the Ato Boldon Stadium to secure at least a playoff spot.
However, Tuesday's failure makes it likely that serious questions will be asked. Arena warned against snap decisions.
"To make any kind of crazy changes would be foolish," the veteran coach warned.
Michael Bradley (left) and Christian Pulisic of the US team react after their shock loss to Trinidad & Tobago during the 2018 World Cup CONCACAF qualifier on Tuesday