‘God is not an American’: the debacle that was USA’s 1986 World Cup campaign

The US had to contend with hostile crowds in their own backyard and players not used to outdoor football as they attempted to make Mexico ‘86

Thirty-two years ago today, and a good half hour after arguably the most disappointing loss in US soccer history, a devastated Rick Davis sat slumped at his locker, head in hands. The Murdock Stadium locker room in Torrance, California, was silent. The United States had just been eliminated from contention for the 1986 World Cup after a 1-0 home defeat to Costa Rica.

“We can’t play much better than that,” a somber Davis said. “It’s a shame it wasn’t supposed to end that way. We were playing for US soccer – for its reputation and recognition in our country. It’s another setback. We missed a golden opportunity.”

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