Oct 10 (Reuters) - The United States will be absent from the World Cup finals for the first time since 1986 next year after a humiliating 2-1 defeat to Trinidad & Tobago in Couva on Tuesday.
Despite an inconsistent qualifying run, the Americans entered the Ato Boldon Stadium needing only a win over the bottom team in the CONCACAF final qualifying group to punch their ticket to Russia.
But two first-half goals, an Omar Gonzalez own goal in the 17th minute and an Alvin Jones effort 20 minutes later, proved too much for the Americans to overcome despite Christian Pulisic's strike after the break.
Instead, Panama qualified for the World Cup finals for the first time with their 2-1 victory over Costa Rica, while Honduras beat Mexico 3-2 to pip the United States to a playoff place against Australia. (Reporting by Jahmal Corner, editing by Nick Mulvenney)