USMNT coach Bruce Arena calls World Cup qualifying elimination ‘a blemish’

Bruce Arena was brought in late last year to replace Jurgen Klinsmann and was given one challenging yet attainable task: Qualify for the 2018 World Cup in Russia. The U.S. came up short, with the horror show of its qualifying campaign culminating in a shocking defeat to Trinidad and Tobago on Tuesday night.

This day may forever go down as the darkest day in U.S. Soccer history. It already has, if you ask many of the supporters and pundits. But how did USA coach Bruce Arena describe it?

“It’s a blemish for us. We should not be staying at home for this World Cup and I take responsibility,” Arena told the press after the match.

“It never mattered to us the scores of the other games. We failed on the day. No excuses. We failed today. We should have walked off this field with at least a point.”

A blemish? It’s much more than that, it’s much more than a black eye. The team failed over and over again. The loss at home to Costa Rica, the draw at Honduras … it was never good enough. 

It appeared that this team was headed for a playoff until Panama’s late winner to beat Costa Rica 2-1 sealed the USA’s fate. And Arena says it is a blemish.

It’s a deep wound for U.S. Soccer and fans, and it’s one that will take five years to heal until the 2022 World Cup. 

That is, if the U.S. makes it to Qatar.


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