WATCH: Controversial 'goal' for Panama helps deny USA World Cup spot
The USA were one of the success stories of the last World Cup in Brazil three years ago.
Progressing from a group with eventual winners Germany, Cristiano Ronaldo's Portugal and an impressive Ghana side, they were unfortunate to bow out to Belgium at the last 16 stage.
Next summer, however, there won't be an American side in Russia. A 2-1 defeat against Trinidad and Tobago, along with a victory for Honduras over already-qualified Mexico and an 88th-minute winner for Panama against Costa Rica means the USA will miss out on a World Cup for the first time since 1986.
Panama came from behind to beat Costa Rica 2-1, although American fans can rightly feel aggrieved by this footage showing their first 'goal' of the game. Trailing to a first half Costa Rican goal, Gabriel Torres was ruled to have scored Panama's equaliser after 52 minutes - despite footage showing the ball did not cross the line.
Esa bola nunca entró ¡Árbitro vulgar! pic.twitter.com/9xyrrZIzWt
— TDMás (@tdmas_cr) October 11, 2017
Despite what happened elsewhere, a point would have been enough for the US to leapfrog Honduras and Panama due to their superior goal difference. However, having given away a two-goal lead to the Caribbean nation, Bruce Arena's side couldn't build on an early first-half goal from Borussia Dortmund's Christian Pulisic.
Trinidad and Tobago had only picked up three points in their previous nine qualifiers and went into the game with the US with a goal difference of -11.
The American media weren't making any excuses, as was shown by former player-turned-pundit, Taylor Twellman, who gave this passionate response to their failure to qualify.
— Arsène's Son (@hughwizzy) October 11, 2017
Still, let's just allow ourselves a moment to appreciate what Panama's winner meant to the people there to see it.
Still, if you're going to take advantage of a phantom goal, get yourself some scenes. Panama! pic.twitter.com/RCGSMLU8TZ
— James Dart (@James_Dart) October 11, 2017
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