US Manager Bruce Arena Blames Donald Trump For World Cup Qualification Woes

Costa Rica vs Mexico will take place at the Estadio Nacional de Costa Rica

"Coming on as a sub, you always want to change the game in some way", he said.

Many Costa Rican fans were in the crowd of 26,500 at Red Bull Arena for the first World Cup qualifier in the NY area, avoided in the past by the U.S. Soccer Federation as it sought pro-American crowds.

The Americans and Honduras are tied for third in the six-team field for the 2018 World Cup in Russian Federation with nine points (2-3-3). Panama (1-2-4) has seven points and Trinidad and Tobago is last with three (1-6).

The U.S. should consider themselves fortunate after Tuesday's late goal.


With three games left in the final round of the North and Central American and Caribbean region, the United States was clinging to third place - the last automatic berth - and results later Friday could drop the US down the standings. Now it just needs to win its next two matches, against Panama and Trinidad & Tobago in October, to clinch a World Cup berth.

"We're not anxious", Bradley said.

Were there three defenders in the game? Two? "We fell behind a goal and tried to get it back". Arena himself admitted as much. The top three teams in the CONCACAF standings automatically qualify for a spot in the 2018 World Cup, with the fourth-place team entering a play-in round. Honduras dominated the action and a goal in the 85th minute by Wood rescued the Americans.

Panama remain firmly in contention in fifth place, one point behind the US and Honduras with seven points.

In the 27th minute, Romell Quioto burnt through the gap between Omar Gonzalez and Graham Zusi on the right side of defense. Clint Dempsey coming on as a sub, which was so effective in the Gold Cup knockout stages, failed to provide the much needed spark and the USA was shut out for only the second time this year (the first being a friendly against Serbia in January). But perhaps the most important thing that happened at halftime was a conversation between Arena and Wood. "It was planned. We knew that". Soon after Wood came in for Darlington Nagbe but as much as the United States of America pushed, they could not break down the Honduras defence and, as they went for an equalizer, opened themselves up at the back.

With the US growing more desperate with each passing second, Christian Pulisic drew a foul about 30 yards out.

Kellyn Acosta's free kick was saved by Luis Lopez, then was kept alive by Matt Besler and headed back toward Wood by Seattle Sounders forward Jordan Morris. In the fifth minute of play, Mexico lost possession in Germany's half, and Joachim Low's team pounced on the counter, opening the wide areas and exposing Mexico's back line. "It seems to me that the referees are refraining from issuing yellow cards because of that rule, which is - without going into a long debate - it's just a stupid rule". "As a striker I was in the right spot and I finished". But the forward never quite had the breakthrough many expected while playing for the likes of Fulham, Eindhoven and Sporting.

"There's not even a crack open in the door to Russian Federation for us", Arena said afterward. They're very unsafe players and we could have been better.

Bradley said that he understands well what his team will be up against on Tuesday. It's about finding a way to survive.

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