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USMNT failure to qualify has stuck with Omar Gonzalez

“I think that sat with me for a really long time, for years, and it’ll always be something that stays in the back of my mind to keep moving forward, to keep pushing me to be the best version of myself.”

Soccer- International Friendly - U.S. Men’s National Team vs Ghana Photo by Ira L. Black/Corbis via Getty Images

The United States Men’s National Team is far removed from failing to qualify for the 2018 World Cup but the wounds are still fresh for certain players.

Newly acquired Revolution defender Omar Gonzalez is one of those players who is still haunted by that fateful match against Trinidad and Tobago.

Gonzalez was asked about working with Bruce Arena on the international level and that black mark on the USMNT resume was brought up by the MLS veteran.

“Speaking to your second question, the way things ended in 2017, before the qualifiers, we did win the Gold Cup, which was nice and all,” said Gonzalez. “And ultimately, everyone’s worst nightmare was the game against Trinidad. I think that sat with me for a really long time, for years, and it’ll always be something that stays in the back of my mind to keep moving forward, to keep pushing me to be the best version of myself. It’s there, but it’s not holding me back. It’s definitely not holding Bruce back. It’s not holding any of those players that were on that field that you see, guys all around the world, doing their thing, and everyone now is thriving. The program’s looking great and so we just keep on moving on.”

The USMNT is moving forward as they seem primed to qualify for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. Gonzalez’s new teammates Matt Turner and Henry Kessler are a part of the future of the program while a new look back line featuring the likes of John Brooks, Mark McKenzie, Chirs Richards, and Miles Robinson also has the United States in a favorable position.

But until the United States is able to reach the promised land and establish itself as a top soccer nation, that failure will be on the top of everyone's mind. The path to redemption begins by qualifying for the 2022 World Cup and putting in an impressive performance past the group stage.