Posted by Real-Time News.

The U.S. men's team failed to qualify for the first time since 1986.

The plans were in place. The Lehigh Valley SoccerFest and Viewing Party, it was announced last week, will return to SteelStacks in 2018, screening all of the World Cup Russia matches on massive outdoor screens.

But while SoccerFest will be back for the World Cup, the U.S. men’s team will not.

Needing only a tie and confident of victory against the world’s 99th-ranked team, the U.S. was eliminated from World Cup contention Tuesday night with a 2-1 loss to Trinidad and Tobago that ended a run of seven straight American appearances at soccer’s showcase.

“We let down an entire nation today,” defender Omar Gonzalez said.

Trinidad and Tobago US World Cup SoccerUnited States’ Matt Besler squats on the pitch after losing 2-1 against Trinidad and Tobago during a 2018 World Cup qualifying soccer match in Couva, Trinidad, Tuesday, Oct. 10, 2017. (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell)

SoccerFest drew tens of thousands of people to the Bethlehem venue in 2014, its first year, for the men’s World Cup in Brazil. And thousands more for the women’s tournament the following year in Canada. And it aired the 2016 Copa America Centenario, hosted in cities around the United States.

But those all had U.S. teams making a run, and the women’s team winning the cup. That definitely drew large crowds, ArtsQuest COO Curt Mosel said Wednesday, but the event was always intended to be of a cultural nature.

With the Americans out of the running, the festival will shift to a more worldly focus. Other popular teams and players from Argentina, Brazil, Portugal and Germany have qualified for World Cup contention, and ArtsQuest wants to more heavily promote the cultures present within the Lehigh Valley, Mosel said.

Exact plans are in development, but there may be broadcasts in Spanish, or partnerships with cultural groups or Russian-owned restaurants — a nod to the tournament’s host country.

“All of the cultures have now been elevated to be a part of the main stage,” Mosel said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Steve Novak may be reached at snovak@lehighvalleylive.com. Follow him on Twitter @type2supernovak and Facebook. Find lehighvalleylive.com on Facebook.