U.S. men’s soccer team fails to qualify for World Cup for first time since 1986

COUVA, Trinidad -- For the first time since 1986, the U.S. men's national soccer team will be watching the World Cup from home.

Falling 2-1 to Trinidad and Tobago on Tuesday night, the U.S. failed to qualify for Russia 2018.

An early own-goal from Omar Gonzalez set the tone for the defeat before Alvin Jones doubled the Trinidad and Tobago lead at 37 minutes.

Despite a fightback, which included a goal straight after halftime from Christian Pulisic, American hearts were to be broken, with the defeat plunging the Americans into fifth place in the CONCACAF table.

"We didn't qualify for the World Cup," coach Bruce Arena said after the game.

"That was my job. To get the team qualified for the World Cup. ... This game in my view was perfectly positioned for the U.S. team and we failed on the day. We have no excuses. We failed today. We should have walked off this field with at least a point."

The final round of qualifiers in CONCACAF also saw Panama put Costa Rica to the sword, and Honduras eke out a 3-2 win against table-topping Mexico.

The U.S. result could not have been a bigger shock. Heading into the final game of qualifying, the Americans were safely within the automatic slots, with only a point needed to secure their tickets to Russia.

But the wins by Panama and Honduras, coupled with their unexpected loss to the last-placed CONCACAF team in Couva, dropped the U.S. team to fifth.