Friday, June 18, 2010

USA vs Slovenia - WTF?

Today's USA vs Slovenia match was one of the best games so far, with some wide open end to end action and scoring chances on both sides.  The U.S. came back from a 2-0 deficit, tying the game at 2-2, before having their go-ahead goal disallowed.  Since I've been highly complementary of the refereeing of the World Cup thus far, I have to say, I have absolutely no idea what today's ref was thinking when he called off what would have been the go ahead goal for the USA in the 85th minute when Maurice Edu volleyed home Landon Donovan's free kick.

Soccer is a difficult game to officiate - I know from experience - and there's a lot going on with free kicks served into the penalty area.  The call the referee usually gets wrong is missing a foul by the defensive players, or calling a marginal foul by the defensive players and awarding an especially harsh penalty kick.  On this play, the referee both missed a foul by the defensive players, and called a non-existent foul on the attackers.  Michael Bradley was being outright held by a defender, and Jozy Altidore was being pushed in the back.  The real travesty, however, is that despite watching the replay numerous times, I can't even find a hint of a foul on a U.S. player.  It definitely wasn't offside either - I don't think that was the call - I think a foul was called.

EDIT:  here's the video - see if you can spot anything that could potentially be called a foul.  Notice the Slovenian defender with his hands LOCKED around Michael Bradley's waist (Bradley is number 4, shaved head)

Anyway, the U.S. gained a point for the draw, in a very exciting game, and the referee stood out as one of the worst in the World Cup thus far (although German fans will complain that their side was harshly penalized with a barrage of unnecessary yellow cards, including two for their striker, Miroslav Klose, which resulted in his early ejection, in their earlier game this morning vs. Serbia)

EDIT 2: thanks to commenter "stimit" who reminded me of the insanity that was the yellow card awarded earlier to US striker Robbie Findley (his second of the first round, which means he sits out the next match) - when the ball hit him in the face, and the referee somehow thought it was an intentional hand ball.



Anonymous said...

KD: The official in the first game was poor. He has a history of red cards as well. I think he made more poor calls, but the official in the US game made the worst call of the tournament so far -- going away. And I cannot imagine the call that betters it.

-- Sev.

Kid Dynamite said...

comments from the guys i used to play with in NYC:

1) "That ref needs to be investigated. Match fixing is not just a problem in Serie A"

2) "It is such bull shit!"

3) "Mystery on grass! Worst call ever!!!! "

Stimit said...

Nice. I like your posts on the WC. The yellow card on Finley was also a travesty today. But all in all, I'm reasonably satisfied with the draw.

J said...

It's waist, not waste.

Hammer Player a.k.a Hoyazo said...

So true, KD. One of the stupidest calls in sports, in at least 24 hours. Especially with that clown totally bear-hugging our #4 all through the play, which is just about the easiest call to make in the game.

scharfy said...

A little off topic. (apology issued :) )

They need to clean up soccer in terms of the flopping around. In fact, that European mentality has infected the NBA. If it hits the NFL I'll cry.

For your viewing pleasure a nice compilation of the floppery.

diving compilation

But What do I Know? said...

This is why soccer can't be taken seriously as a sport. You can have bad calls, sure, but when the official doesn't even need to let anyone know *what* he called it's ridiculous. You can't just wave off a goal in the World Cup without anyone knowing what the infraction is!

I am no longer paying any attention to this travesty.

Kid Dynamite said...

BWDIK - great point. the MLB ump who blew the perfect game call last month came out right away and said "i blew it"

this soccer official needs to say either 1) i fucked up or 2) this is what i saw. or both.

Yangabanga said...

The fix is in.

brendo said...

This is also the beauty of soccer if you ask me...Sure there's bad calls, but it works for both sides...It always seems to come back around to bite the other side.

It was a bad call..but at least you don't have the constant slow down that video replay brings about...Commercials...and Refs that totally relay upon replay, rather than their own judgement. This makes the game about the calls, rather than the enjoyment of the game.

Anyone who gives up on soccer because of an unfair call better give up most sport...At least US didn't get eliminated because of it (France-Ireland qualifying was A BAD CALL......)

scharfy said...

This world cup will be the USA's "Miracle on Ice" moment.

A largely unknown, second tier sport (in the US), struggling economically, and deep Anti-American sentiment on high.

Then they will do the impossible. Win the World Cup. And swing pessimism to optimism. And the economy will boom for 20 years.

I'm gettin desperate huh? But is this any worse of a plan than cash-4-clunkers to get the economy goin?

Anonymous said...

We can still advance with a victory (which seems about fair - it is Algeria), so I can't get too worked up.

Odds are that this ref's FIFA career is over.

Seems reasonable. Now let's crush those damn Algerians!