Former U.S. national team striker Taylor Twellman has sounded off on the Americans' stunning elimination from World Cup qualifying, calling the setback an "utter embarrassment."
The U.S. finished qualifying with a 2-1 loss at Trinidad & Tobago on Tuesday, dropping the Americans (3-4-3) to fifth in CONCACAF's six-team final stage. Although the U.S. still would have advanced with help in other matches, Panama earned a 2-1 win over Costa Rica to clinch a World Cup berth in third while Honduras' 3-2 victory against Mexico was enough to secure a playoff date with Australia.
That setback ends a streak of seven straight appearances in the World Cup for the U.S., which last sat out the main event in 1986.
"Every single one of those players? Nightmares for the rest of their lives because this is an utter embarrassment," Twellman said on ESPN. "With the amount of money that is in Major League Soccer and in this sport, you can't get a draw, a tie against Trinidad? You don't deserve to go to the World Cup, plain and simple."
Citing Germany's systematic change following a winless showing at Euro 2000, Twellman called for American soccer to embark on its own overhaul.
"If this failure does not wake up everyone from U.S. Soccer to Major League Soccer, from 'pay to play' to broadcasters, to everything, then we're all insane because the definition of insanity is doing the exact same thing knowing the result," said Twellman, who earned 30 caps for the U.S. from 2002 to 2008. "If we don't change, and I mean 'we' — everyone in U.S. Soccer — then what's the point? Because that should have never happened with the billion dollars-plus that is going into U.S. Soccer and youth development."
In advancing to the round of 16 in three of the past four World Cup tournaments, the U.S. had found itself targeting a deeper run in soccer's showpiece event — leaving Twellman dumbfounded by Tuesday's developments.
"The discussion after Brazil  was, 'Can we beat the Colombias and the Belgiums and the Argentinas of the world," Twellman said. "Are you kidding me? We can't beat Trinidad on a field that's too wet and too heavy? What are we doing?"