Bad news

U.S. soccer knocked out of World Cup with loss to Trinidad and Tobago

Jozy Altidore has to be wondering what happened as the U.S. lost to Trinidad and Tobago. Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

The United States men's national team will not play in the 2018 World Cup. 

The U.S. was shocked by lowly Trinidad and Tobago in a 2-1 setback Tuesday night. That, coupled with wins by Honduras and Panama left the U.S. on the outside looking in.

Trinidad and Tobago had just one win before Tuesday night. The result was a shocker, and a blow to U.S. soccer, which now has to wait until the 2022 World Cup. It will take soccer out of the minds of the American sports fan for the next several years. 

The U.S. fell behind 2-0 in the first half and never recovered despite Christian Pulisic's early goal to start the second half. The  U.S. had chances, but lacked the desperation needed. 

The loss is a major embarassment for U.S. Soccer, which will not play in the World Cup for the first time since 1986. The U.S. finished fifth in CONCACAF, one of the easier qualifying groups. The U.S. proved that despite its best efforts, it does not measure up as an international soccer competitor.

Bruce Arena replaced Jurgen Klinsmann halfway through qualifying, but it did not matter. The U.S. team simply was not good enough, and now has four years to sort out the future.

Pulisic is a current and future star, but expect major changes and shakeups. That is for another day.

Today was about a failure of epic proportions.


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Kyle Tucker had a big day at the plate on Sunday. Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

After splitting the first two games of the series, with one team or the other putting on a solid offensive performance in each, the Astros tried to win their fourth series in their last five by taking the rubber game on Sunday against the Blue Jays. Thanks in part to a big day from Kyle Tucker, who played a significant role in the early offense they used to power to the win, they would accomplish their mission.

Final Score: Astros 7, Blue Jays 4

Astros' Record: 18-16, second in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Bryan Abreu (2-1)

Losing Pitcher: Nate Pearson (0-1)

Kyle Tucker helps lead the offense to seven unanswered runs

Houston did not go easy on Nate Pearson in his 2021 debut. After a scoreless first, the Astros loaded the bases on two walks and a single, then brought the first run of the day home on an RBI walk by Michael Brantley. Another walk opened the door in the bottom of the third, and Kyle Tucker capitalized with an RBI triple to make it 2-0, followed by an RBI single by Robel Garcia to make it a three-run lead, ending Pearson's day one out into the bottom of the third.

Things didn't get easier for Toronto's pitching in the next inning, as Jose Altuve would lead off the bottom of the fourth with a solo homer. A single and a walk then set up another big hit for Kyle Tucker, a three-run dinger to make it seven unanswered runs and giving Tucker four RBI on the day.

Blue Jays pound Greinke in the fifth

After four shutout innings to start his day on the mound, working around a few hits along the way, Zack Greinke tried to cash in on his team's offense to get another win on his record. He wouldn't be able to get it done, though, as Toronto would get after him in the top of the fifth. They would score four times amongst five batters that came to the plate, with a solo homer by Rowdy Tellez, a two-RBI double by Bo Bichette, and an RBI single by Vladimir Guerrero Jr.

That made it a 7-4 game, and with Greinke still not having recorded an out in the frame, Dusty Baker would lift him at 88 pitches in favor of Bryan Abreu, who would get a pop out and a double play to end the inning and keep the lead at three runs. Greinke's final line: 4.0 IP, 9 H, 4 ER, 0 BB, 4 K, 1 HR, 88 P.

Houston takes the series

No more runs would come on either side the rest of the way, with Kent Emanuel working around a single for a scoreless sixth, Ryne Stanek getting a 1-2-3 seventh, and Andre Scrubb doing the same in the eighth to set up Ryan Pressly for the save. Pressly would get the job done, sending the Blue Jays down in order, including two strikeouts to wrap up the win and giving Houston the series victory.

Up Next: The Astros will stay at home to continue this homestand, welcoming in the Angels for three games starting Monday at 7:10 PM Central. The opener will feature a pitching matchup of Alex Cobb (1-2, 5.48 ERA) for Los Angeles and Luis Garcia (0-3, 3.28 ERA) for Houston.

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