The USA will miss the 2018 World Cup after 2-1 loss to Trinidad & Tobago, which had a fortuitous start thanks to Omar Gonzalez’s 17th-minute own goal. But the failure was a team effort.
USA Player Ratings:
Player (Club) GP/G
4 Tim Howard (Colorado Rapids) 121/0
Beaten from a mile out by Alvin Jones’ shot for the 2-0.
4 DeAndre Yedlin (Newcastle United) 48/0
Set up first U.S. shot, a high miss by Jozy Altidore in 7th minute, but that was a rare offensive contribution from the right back. Blocked three-yard shot by Levi Garcia in 48th minute.
4 Matt Besler (Sporting KC) 47/1
Like central defensive partner Omar Gonzalez, committed a yellow-card foul in stoppage time that ran valuable seconds of the clock during comeback attempt.
2 Omar Gonzalez (Pachuca/MEX) 48/3.
Gifted T&T the lead with own goal from 13 yards out and was lucky not to be called for penalty kick for sloppy slide-tackle on Curtis Gonzales a minute later. Headed high a last-minute corner kick.
4 Jorge Villafana (Santos
Left back kept Nathan Lewis from dribbling past him but on the first goal made meager effort to block the cross that Gonzalez shanked over Tim Howard. More lively in attack in second half
3 Paul Arriola (D.C. United) 15/2.
Right midfielder helped create only a couple of forays before being replaced by Clint Dempsey at halftime.
3 Michael Bradley (Toronto FC) 140/17.
First-half ineffectiveness demonstrated when he under-hit his cross after a short corner kick. Did better in the second half to create some midfield cohesion, but the captain failed to lead his team to the World Cup.
6 Christian Pulisic (Borussia Dortmund/GER) 20/9.
Saw too little of the ball and had some poor touches before his 21-yard rocket made it 2-1 early in the second half. Delivered the cross the cross for Bobby Wood’s header in the 88th minute.
5 Darlington Nagbe
(Portland Timbers) 24/1.
Big assist on first U.S. goal when he settled a high cross-field pass, jumped back to his feet after knocked down, and served Pulisic. Won corner kick in 81st after storming into goal area while shirt-tugged tugged by Leston Paul.
4 Bobby Wood (Hamburg/GER) 36/10.
Not a good sign when a forward commits more fouls (3) than suffered (1). Wood lost one-on-ones. His 88th minute header flew within reach of keeper Adrian Foncette.
3 Jozy Altidore (Toronto FC) 110/41
Shot high in the seventh minute. Made weak effort in air battle for 40th minute corner kick, headed high in the 54th minute, and in the 84th minute hit the ball weakly twice during a goalmouth scramble.
5 Clint Dempsey (Seattle Sounders) 141/57
Halftime sub forced good save from keeper Foncette in 69th minute and hit the post from 24 yards in 77th minute.
4 Kellyn Acosta (FC Dallas) 16/1
Nagbe’s 72nd minute replacement blocked a Hhaleem Hyland shot in the 82nd minute. Hit a nice chipped pass to spark a 86th minute counterattack. But didn't make the difference expected from a late sub.
nr Benny Feilhaber (Sporting Kansas City) 44/2
The 84th minute sub committed a dumb foul in the 89th minute when the USA needed keep the ball in play.
(Ratings: 1=low; 5=middle; 10=high.)
TRIVIA: Before this failure, the USA had been one of only seven teams to qualify for every World Cup since 1990. The others being: Brazil, Germany, Italy (which faces a playoff for for the 2018 World Cup), Argentina, Spain and South Korea.
Oct. 10 in Couva, Trinidad
Trinidad & Tobago 2 USA 1
Goals: own goal (O.Gonzalez) 17, A.Jones 37; Pulisic 47
Trinidad & Tobago — Foncette, Hodge (Villaroel, 82), Gonzales, Cyrus, A.Jones, George, Hyland, Lewis, Paul, Garcia (J.Jones, 72), Winchester.
USA — Howard, Yedlin, Besler, Gonzalez, Villafana (Acosta, 72), Arriola, Bradley, Pulisic, Nagbe (Feilhaber, 84), Wood, Altidore.
Yellow cards: T&T — Hodge 68, J.Jones 93+. USA — O.Gonzalez 91+, Besler 95+.
Referee: Marlon Mejía Carrillos (El Salvador).