This past weekend, I compiled the various outcomes that would see the USMNT either advance to the Hex or be out of the World Cup Qualifying stages entirely and thus the World Cup in 2014. It's a pretty dismal scenario, but one that is not entirely out of the realm of possibility at this point. One lackluster performance tonight and a fantastic Jamaican win could see USA fans forced to wait until 2018 to see their country represented in the World Cup. That's 6 very long years from now.
Which brings up the question: with the gains the USMNT made in the World Cup in 2010 in terms of popularity and its impact not only on MLS but on the sport in general here at home, one has to wonder:
What if they don't make it this time around?
There's really no way to answer that as the USMNT hasn't ever missed a World Cup since MLS was founded and the sport began to make waves within this nation. If they don't make it, it would be a landmark event for the sport in this country and one that would be looked back to for years and years as a story of either how the sport failed (and the reason why) once again, or how the sport persevered despite the result.
I, personally, have no way of answering this question so I'm turning to you guys to speculate. What happens if the USA gets unceremoniously booted from the World Cup Qualifiers tonight?
Does MLS persevere? Do they face an even bigger uphill battle?
Will the sport see less interest as the years go on without any casual fans jumping onto the World Cup bandwagon?
Or will everything be just fine?
What do you think?