US Fails to Qualify for 2018 World Cup After Embarrassing Defeat, Vegas Sportsbooks to Suffer

Posted on: October 11, 2017, 09:15h. 

Last updated on: October 11, 2017, 03:34h.

The US men’s soccer team won’t participate in the 2018 World Cup in Russia. That’s not because of some political protest, but rather due to poor play by the American team that can only be described as embarrassing.

2018 World Cup US men's team
Matt Besler of the US men’s soccer team hangs his head after losing to Trinidad and Tobago and being eliminated from the 2018 World Cup. (Image: Rebecca Blackwell/Associated Press)

On Tuesday night, the United States fell 2-1 to Trinidad and Tobago. Paired with Honduras upsetting Mexico 3-2, the US team was eliminated from the World Cup.

Moneylines at sportsbooks had the US favored at around -400 to Trinidad a longshot at +1000. The implied odds gave the Americans roughly an 80 percent chance of winning.

After early sluggish play in the hexagonal round, the US team had to win its final two matches to assure a spot in the 2018 Cup. Last Friday, the Americans took care of business 4-0 over Panama. Trinidad was supposed to be the easier of the two matches, but that reality failed to materialize.

US coach Bruce Arena called the defeat “disappointing,” while defender Omar Gonzalez called it the “worst day of my career.” But ESPN soccer writer Jeff Carlisle took it a step further than that, even.

“It’s a result that is difficult to process on many levels. But let’s be clear: It’s the most embarrassing defeat in US soccer history,” Carlisle concluded.

For the record, Trinidad and Tobago’s 1.37 million in population is dwarfed by the United States’ 323 million. That’s a lot of tears.

Defeat Brutal for Nevada Sportsbooks

CONCACAF, the Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football, is one of the easiest World Cup qualifying channels in the world.

The final round consists of six teams, with four World Cup spots up for grabs. Among the finalists was Panama, a team that had never previously qualified for the world’s biggest and most-watched sporting event. Additionally, Trinidad has played in just one previous World Cup, and Honduras, which took the fourth and final CONCACAF spot, has played in just three.

Without the United States playing in the World Cup, Nevada sportsbooks, especially in Las Vegas, expect to see their handles plummet. Betting on the World Cup has increased over the years, with oddsmakers taking in $5.9 million in “other” sports gambling revenue during July’s event in 2014. While 2018 will presumably be down in Nevada without the US, along with the Cup taking place in Russia, betting should return if the US lands the hosting rights for the 2026 Cup.

Germany and France are the 2018 favorites to win it all, with online book Bovada posting those countries at +500. Brazil is next at +600, followed by Spain (+700), Argentina (+800), and Belgium (+1400).

As for CONCACAF teams, Mexico has the slimmest odds at +5000. The other three qualifiers include Costa Rica (+15000), Honduras (+50000), and Panama (+100000).

No Show of Love

Mexico won the hexagonal round with 21 points. The US hoped the Mexicans might play Honduras tough, even though they were already in for 2018, as the Americans saved them four years ago in the last match by defeating Panama.

Instead, Honduras, down a goal in the second half, was able to score twice in six minutes. And those roughly 360 seconds eliminated the US men’s team from the 2018 World Cup.