Captain and midfielder Michael Bradley (pictured) is trying to lead the USA to an eighth straight World Cup appearance. (Photo: Mexsport)
HARRISON, New Jersey -- Suddenly, the United States' spot in the 2018 FIFA World Cup has become uncertain.
After Friday’s 2-0 loss to visiting Costa Rica, the Americans now face possible must-win scenarios in each of their last three CONCACAF Hexagonal matches.
"There's no time to feel sorry for ourselves, and we're not," U.S. captain Michael Bradley said. "We've got three games to play like our lives depend on it, and we will."
The U.S. (2W-2D-3L, 8 points) is in third place, level on eight points with Honduras (2-2-3, 8) but holding the advantage of superior goal difference (+1 to -7). Coincidentally, they will meet in San Pedro Sula on Tuesday. The top three teams book automatic tickets to Russia, with the fourth-place team contesting a playoff with the fifth-place Asian side.
"This is our reality at the moment," remarked Bradley. "The likelihood is that it's going to go down to the wire, and that can't faze anybody, that can't scare us. Costa Rica and Mexico are gone. Us, Panama and Honduras play a few games, and one will go to the World Cup, one will go to the playoff and one will be out."
The U.S. has qualified for seven straight World Cups, which is the longest active streak of any CONCACAF nation.