The last time the US men's soccer team missed the World Cup I wasn't even knee high to a soccer ball. So as far as my memory goes, the World Cup has not existed without the USMNT.
That will change next summer in Russia as Bruce Arena's men failed to qualify after a shocking 2-1 loss to Trinidad and Tobago on Tuesday. Needing at the very least a draw to guarantee a chance to the take part in a playoff to react the World Cup finals, the US men went down 2-0 before half in Trinidad and were it not for a Christian Pulisic scorcher to start the second half, would have been shutout in the most important game in recent history for the USMNT -- mind you, a win would have had the US in the World Cup free and clear, and did I mention Trinidad and Tobago were bottom of the group?
With the initial shock setting in following the result, many took to Twitter to vent, admonish, plead, etc. knowing the USMNT would miss the World Cup for the first time since 1986. Here's what they were saying:
The United States has been eliminated from World Cup 2018. The most surreal and embarrassing night in US soccer history.
— Grant Wahl (@GrantWahl) October 11, 2017
300 million ppl living here and cant find 11 ppl to qualify for something that allows 32 countries in the world to qualify for smh #USMNT
— Ashish Jain (@ash_jain39) October 11, 2017
I'm still in shock. It's a dark day for all of us who care about soccer in this country. How we move forward now is the most important thing. #USMNT
— Nat Borchers (@natborchers) October 11, 2017
Many blamed the current US soccer system citing the "pay for play" model as a root of the failure:
On another note, PAY-TO-PLAY IS A SHAM. Thousands of young players are overlooked because they can't shell out the $$$. #USMNT
— Jordan Hawkins (@jrayhawkins) October 11, 2017
In large part, its the #1 sport in the world because all it takes is a ball and a goal. In the US, it takes money. That must change. #USMNT
— Terry Gannon (@terrygannon83) October 11, 2017
While others focused their anger at US Soccer's management especially US Soccer president Sunil Gulati:
This tweet calls for @sunilgulati to resign tomorrow morning. Please RT if you agree.
— Hows Ya Touch (@howsyatouch) October 11, 2017
— Dave Denholm (@TalkSoccer) October 11, 2017
Fire Bruce. Fire Gulati. Kick everyone but Pulisic off the team and never let them wear red, white and blue again. #USMNT
— Gary Owens Bruce Jr (@hype_man3000) October 11, 2017
A big failure needed to happen eventually so a change in the system occurs. Kids that pay to play, college soccer all must change #USMNT
— David Dawood (@Davidlamps8) October 11, 2017
And of course, humor soothed some:
— Postseason Ike (@thecinco_5) October 11, 2017
If fairness to the #USMNT, how are they expected to beat two countries at once? They should change that rule.
— CJ Nitkowski (@CJNitkowski) October 11, 2017
— Luke Thomas (@lthomasnews) October 11, 2017
Not pictured are the large number of tweets saying people will now not watch the World Cup in the US because the men's national team isn't playing. And I get it, like the Olympics, forthe casual fan national pride is the driving force of viewership. But I've got some news for those saying they won't turn on another soccer game for four years… there's a US soccer team that has taken part in every World Cup tournament, won three and is the defending champion.
— Ryan. (@ryanlaurenti) October 11, 2017
See you in 2019!