USA’s Russia 2018 ended with 2-1 defeat to Trinidad and Tobago
Stars and Stripes qualified for Italy 1990 in reversed circumstances
Long-range goal denied Soca Warriors a World Cup debut on final day
“We were so close to reaching the World Cup and then we all woke up the next morning to realise our dreams had been dashed,” said one player, looking ahead to a narrowly missed chance to live out a FIFA World Cup™ fantasy.
“The disappointment was almost too much to bear,” said another.
These could so easily be the words of USA’s stars today, knowing that just a point in Trinidad and Tobabo would have taken them to Russia 2018. In fact, they are those of the Soca Warriors’ own Russell Latapy and Dwight Yorke who, 28 years ago, saw their dreams shattered by the Stars and Stripes in an eerily similar manner to the USA’s 2-1 defeat on Tuesday night.
History tells the story of Paul Caligiuri’s goal catapulting the USA to Italy 1990 on the final day of qualifying – when only a win would do – into a run of seven successive appearances at the finals after a 40-year absence. The flip side of that tale then was that T&T’s legendary ‘Strike Squad’, a team arguably not even matched by the one that made their World Cup debut 17 years later, missed out in heartbreaking style.