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The phantom Panama goal that sent US crashing out

12 Octubre 2017

On Tuesday night, the United States failed to make the World Cup for the first time since 1986 and missing out results in plenty of money lost.

Still, the World Cup is a global event, and it is once every four years, and that's a lot to lose considering what happened just last Friday in Florida.

USA needed just a point in the Caribbean to seal third place with a far superior goal difference to Panama and Honduras.

While the American side did plenty on their own to ensure the demise of their World Cup aspirations, one goal in the Panama-Costa Rica game being played concurrently with the Americans' contest will surely be examined closely over the next few days. Those kids will have to wait until 2022 at the earliest, and that is a long time for a 9-year-old who doesn't remember watching in 2014 and will be a teenager the next time around. Others said the collapse was proof that the U.S. player development system is inherently flawed.

Coupled with victories by Panama and Honduras, the Americans (3-4-3) fell to fifth place in the six-team regional competition. But that's not going to happen.

Less than 12 hours after the pivotal match, many changes have already been called for.

Ratings on ESPN soared three years ago when the U.S. team advanced out of the group stage, before falling to Belgium in extra time in the Round of 16.

The first goal against the U.S. came courtesy of an own goal by defender Omar Gonzalez, whose attempt to clear a crossing pass sent a wickedly looping ball toward - and over - U.S. goalie Tim Howard. "As a program, we have to get better".

Costa Rica and Panama face off Tuesday in a World Cup qualifying match in Panama City.

This shouldn't even be considered a controversial statement.

However, Trinidad found a second in the 36th minute when Alvin Jones smashed a swerving shot from the right flank past Howard to give the hosts a 2-0 advantage at the break.

"Firstly, I want to apologize to the nation and to coach Dennis Lawrence, his staff and my teammates for the way in way the results went".

In much of the U.S., that 1989 win might not be revered as the touchstone it would be in more soccer-crazed countries. It's a sureness that permeates throughout the whole of the game in this country, where despite massive problems from youth development through the pro game, there is a belief that things are headed in the right direction. This has been the biggest disappointment of my career.

The phantom Panama goal that sent US crashing out