The United States will miss out on next summer’s World Cup in Russia as an abject defeat to Trinidad & Tobago coupled with Panama’s late win at home to Costa Rica saw them knocked out.
Bruce Arena’s side started the night in the third qualifying place but Roman Torres’ 88th-minute winner sent Panama to their first ever finals.
The US missed out on even a play-off with Australia, as Honduras took that spot by beating Mexico.
USA last missed a World Cup in 1986.
The US beat Panama 4-0 just last Friday but, despite playing a Trinidad & Tobago side with just three points from nine games before kick-off, never looked close to securing a place in Russia.
Omar Gonzalez stretched to cut out a cross and only succeeded in steering the ball past veteran goalkeeper Tim Howard, before Alvin Jones rocketed in a superb 35-yard strike to double the hosts’ lead.
Borussia Dortmund teenager – and star of the win in Panama – Christian Pulisic gave the US hope soon after the restart with a fine long-range goal of his own, but with Honduras beating Mexico it looked like a play-off place for the States.
And then, with time running out in Panama City, Torres – who plays his club football in Seattle – latched on to a long ball forwards and smashed in off the crossbar to send Panama through and leave the US in the wilderness.
The US – and Costa Rica – will not be happy with Panama’s opening goal. Replays suggested that Gabriel Torres’ header did not cross the line.