KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The USA Men’s Soccer team will not be playing in next year’s World Cup. They were upset Tuesday night by the small island nation of Trinidad and Tobago.
There is fear now that with no USA on the world’s big stage, people won’t be packing the Power and Light District next summer to watch World Cup games – and there is fear interest in the game could fall.
All USA had to do was win or tie to get in. They were playing the worst team in their division in an empty stadium on the small island off the coast of Venezuela, but USA gave it away, literally, when American defender Omar Gonzalez scored an own goal trying to clear the ball from the net. A short time later, Trinidad scored a second goal.
In the second half, USA scored to get to within one, but USA couldn’t get another goal and lost the game.
Now if either Mexico or Costa Rica, the top two teams in the USA's division, had won, USA still would’ve been in – but they both lost, so now USA is out of the World Cup for the first time since 1986.
This was a major upset for Kansas City because the city has seen so much momentum in recent years – from a packed downtown during World Cup games to investors millions of dollars into youth soccer complexes and the construction of USA Soccer’s new headquarters in KCK.
Many also wonder if this will affect Kansas City's bid to host the World Cup in 2026 – it could, but it might also help since it’ll be an opportunity for FIFA to revive soccer in the most powerful country in the world.
By the way, Sporting KC players Matt Besler and Benny Feilhaber both played Tuesday night – Benny nearly scored the tying goal. And there is a rumor that Sporting head coach Peter Vermes might be on the short list to take over coaching Team USA.