United States coach Bruce Arena has challenged his team to finish the job and seal World Cup qualification against Trinidad & Tobago on Tuesday after an emphatic rout of Panama which has transformed American fortunes.
A 60th-minute goal from Romell Quioto proved to be the match-winner for Jorge Luis Pinto's men at the Estadio Olimpico Metropolitano in San Pedro Sula.
The Americans needed just 80 seconds to halve the deficit as Pulisic collected the ball beyond the top of the penalty area, took on a defender and pumped a 20-yard effort over Adrian Foncette for his ninth international goal in 20 appearances.
The game got off to a slow start on a pitch that had come under intense scrutiny in the days ahead of the match because it was waterlogged as recently as Monday.
Coming into the game, Mexico and Costa Rica had secured their trips to Russia, as the No. 1 and No. 2 teams.
The loss immediately touched off criticisms and calls for changes in the U.S. Soccer system.
Still, the World Cup is a global event, and it is once every four years, and that's a lot to lose considering what happened just last Friday in Florida.
While the American debate immediately centered on the litany of shortcomings during a dismal qualifying campaign, the spotlight could swiftly fall on U.S. Soccer Federation President Sunil Gulati. And that momentum was quite literally built in the wake of the last World Cup.
Davis adds, "You're going to hear a lot of yelling and see a lot of people going in that direction".
After last night's loss, Arena said it was a "blemish" for the U.S. squad.
Granted, it's not like the World Cup is canceled.
Trinidad and Tobago beat the U.S. despite having very little to play for, other than pride.
Watch the incredible incident in the video at the top of the page. If this was Argentina or England, Germany or France, the resignation letter would come in the hours after the result.
The ball quite clearly never crossed the line.
Any decrease in interest by American fans may have far-reaching effects for Fox Sports, which is paying more than $400 million for the domestic English-language rights to the next two World Cups.
"It was the most unlucky goal ever for myself", Gonzalez said, "one that will haunt me forever". The U.S. was able to dictate its own fate - even a draw would have sent it to the cup.
Arena later added, "We should not be staying home for this World Cup".
Trinidad and Tobago was intent on stretching the lead, however. This has been the biggest disappointment of my career.
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