WATCH: Did This Referee Blunder Keep the US Out of the World Cup?

  • US are out of the World Cup after losing to Trinidad & Tobago
  • But the US might still have made play-offs if Panama hadn’t been gifted a “phantom” goal.
  • The first Panama goal didn’t cross the line.

The US men’s national team could still be in with a chance of going to the World Cup – if it wasn’t for a ref’s blunder in another qualifier.

Minutes before the US lost 2-1 to Trinidad & Tobago in their final qualifying game, Panama scored their game-winner against Costa Rica to win a ticket to Russia next summer. The victory knocked the Americans out.

Panama’s first goal to tie the game in the eventual 2-1 victory should never have been allowed.

Panama forward Gabriel Torres’ 52nd-minute goal never appeared to cross the goal line.  The ball was on the goal line when Costa Rica’s Juan Pablo Vargas poked the ball away.

Torres, who came rushing in late, didn’t even appear to touch the ball, let alone hit it into the net.

If that game ended in a 1-1 draw, the US would have had another chance at staving off elimination in a playoff game.

Instead, Panama’s win, coupled with Honduras’ 3-2 upset of Mexico, sent the Americans home without a World Cup place for the first time since 1986.


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