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‘No Choice but to Stand and Face the Music’: What Went Wrong for USMNT

Ashley Allen/Getty Images

COUVA, Trinidad and Tobago — A nightmarish World Cup qualifying campaign for the United States men’s national team reached a fitting conclusion Tuesday night when the Americans lost to Trinidad and Tobago, 2-1. The defeat sent the Stars and Stripes into fifth place in the final round of CONCACAF qualifying and ensured they would miss out on the World Cup for the first time since 1986.

“Incredibly disappointed,” team captain Michael Bradley said on a concrete concourse at Ato Boldon Stadium after the match. “I feel like we’ve let ourselves down. Feel like we’ve let our fans and everybody who supports us back home down. There’s not a whole lot to say. On nights like this, when things go wrong, you have no choice but to stand and face the music. So that’s what we’ll do.”

While the defeat was surprising, especially after the Americans looked so strong dispatching Panama four days earlier, it shared DNA with other disappointing results during a final-round qualification campaign in which the U.S. lost four matches for the first time.

“They won a lot of individual battles against us,” head coach Bruce Arena said in a post-match press conference.

“[We had] a bad start to the game,” said forward Jozy Altidore, who tied for the team lead by appearing in 15 of 16 World Cup qualifiers. “We were not able to get ourselves in the game. We were not good enough. We didn’t create enough to get back in the game.”

Later, the forward continued: “We were just not able to deal with the teams this time around, collectively, one through 11. We were not able to defend well enough. You can’t go and score four to five goals every day. We were not hard enough to play

Article source: http://bleacherreport.com/articles/2738177-no-choice-but-to-stand-and-face-the-music-what-went-wrong-for-usmnt

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