(Reuters) – In one of the biggest upsets of this qualifying cycle, the United States failed to reach the World Cup for the first time in more than 30 years and now face some major questions over the progress of the sport in the country.
A 2-1 defeat to an already eliminated Trinidad and Tobago meant the U.S. finished an embarrassing fifth out of six teams in their CONCACAF qualifying group.
Mexico - Standings - Costa - Rica - Place
Mexico topped the standings with Costa Rica in second place while the third automatic spot went to Panama.
The Central American nation reached the World Cup for the first time in their history thanks to a last gasp 2-1 win over Costa Rica, while Honduras ended fourth and will play Australia over two legs for a place in Russia next year.
Impact - US - Absence - Broadcasters - Fox
The impact of the U.S’s absence will be felt at broadcasters Fox, who take over coverage of the World Cup from ESPN starting with the 2018 tournament and a host of sponsors, such as Nike, who had been hoping for plenty of World Cup exposure.
But on a deeper level, the outcome raises a host of questions about whether American soccer truly is progressing.
Country - World - Cup - Italia - Tournament
The country did not feature in any World Cup from 1954 to 1986, but after making it to Italia 90 and then hosting the tournament themselves in 1994, the game appeared to be on the rise.
The U.S reached the quarter-finals in 2002 and more recently impressed in Brazil four years ago by reaching the second round, finishing above Portugal in their group.
Front - Major - League - Soccer - League
On the domestic front, Major League Soccer, which began in 1996, has produced a stable league for the first time in North America and has grown to 22 teams, many playing in new soccer specific stadiums.
“This is an utter embarrassment, with the amount of money that is in Major...
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