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Calls for Change After the U.S. Fails to Qualify for World Cup

This is the first missed World Cup since 1986.

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For the first time since 1986, the U.S. has not qualified for the World Cup. Sports Illustrated writes that this is the endpoint of a long “series of felonies and misdemeanors over the last 12 months.”

CONCACAF is a pretty forgiving system when it comes to World Cup qualifying, Sports Illustrated writes. The Americans started with a giant margin of error, which they proceeded to whittle away during six Hexagonal games. The team lost two opening games in Costa Rica, and then the final blow was dealt in a near-empty stadium in the Caribbean tropics.

Players like Omar Gonzalez fought back tears after the loss. The first goal bounced off his shin and into the U.S. net for an own goal, reports Sports Illustrated. He said it will haunt him forever and that it is the worst day of his career.

“I just want to say sorry to all the fans that were pulling for us, that wanted to go to Russia, that believed in us. We let down an entire nation today,” he said, according to Sports Illustrated. 

U.S. captain Michael Bradley also reflected on the “doomsday scenario that had just played out,” writes Sports Illustrated. He said that everything that could have possibly gone wrong did, both in this game and the two games before it. He said the first goal being an own goal gave the other time energy.

“You can go around in circles a million times over again. But the reality is it was all there for us, and we have nobody to blame but ourselves.”

Coach Bruce Arena’s days are now numbered, writes Sports Illustrated. He took responsibility for the failure, but did not think major changes should take place in U.S. Soccer, telling Sports Illustrated that there is “nothing wrong with what we’re doing.” He went on to say that they have some good players coming up and to make “crazy changes” would be “foolish.”

Sports Illustrated writes that the team didn’t qualify because of repeated fatal flaws over the past 12 months. The magazine says that what needs to happen next is an honest discussion of the facts that led to this day.

Read full story at Sports Illustrated