RONALD BLUM, AP Sports Writer
COUVA, Trinidad (AP) — The United States has been eliminated from World Cup contention, a shocking loss at Trinidad ending the Americans’ streak of seven straight appearances at soccer’s showcase.
Twenty-eight years after a stunning victory at Trinidad put the Americans back in the World Cup after a four-decade absence, their chances for next year’s tournament in Russia ended on this island nation off the coast of Venezuela.
Trinidad and Tobago scored a pair of first-half goals, and the United States was eliminated with a 2-1 defeat Tuesday night — the first time missing the World Cup since 1986.
The U.S. entered its final qualifier with a berth uncertain for the first time since 1989. Home losses to Mexico last November and Costa Rica left the Americans little margin for error.
The 28th-ranked Americans needed merely a tie against 99th-ranked Trinidad, which lost its sixth straight qualifier last week. But the defeat — coupled with Honduras’ come-from-behind 3-2 win over Mexico and Panama’s 2-1 victory over Costa Rica on Ramon Torres’ 88th-minute goal — dropped the Americans from third place into fifth in the six-nation final round of the North and Central American and Caribbean region.