Americans Haunted By A Phantom Call

Major, major props to Team USA for not succumbing to despair after falling behind 0-2 against a surprising Slovenian squad, that apparently holds Chuck Brown in no small amount of reverence. The fact that America’s team equalized in the second half is a testament to the grit and can-do attitude that fueled the establishment and growth of this great nation.

Of course, it was lackadaisical marking and a flaccid attack that put them in the early hole and to be sure that will surely be addressed by head coach Bob Bradley. Resiliency is a trademark of a team that can make a deep run in this, the greatest of all sporting events, and the American proved that they have just that.

The story of this match should have been that, a scrappy American squad falls behind early only to come roaring back in the second half to tie, then in the closing minutes to win on a Maurice Edu strike off a set piece. But nooooo…

Instead, the story of the match is head referee Koman Coulibaly from Mali who made an atrocious call that nullfied Edu’s potential game-winner. Coulibaly called Michael Bradley offside on the play despite not being in a position to make such a call. You see, that call typically goes to one of the linesmen who has a better angle on it. What makes this especially frustrating is that no one knew what the nullifying call was.

Even before making up this offside, this ref had shown a remarkable ability to make a buffoon of himself. He gave US forward Robbie Findley a yellow card for a handball. Fine and good, except that the ball hit Findley in the face. I don’t know maybe in Mali a hand is a face and a face is a hand, who knows?

I do know that this may sound condescending but what the hell is a man from Mali (FIFA Rank: 54) doing officiating a contest on this, the grandest of stages? What’s more, why is the Saudi ref (KSA’s FIFA Rank: 66) who clumsily presided over the México-France match also afforded the opportunity on this stage? Yes, I know that not all refs from low ranking FIFA members are laughably incompetent, but I’m beginning to sense a pattern and I’m not the only one.

In my opinion, the best football/fútbol is played in Europe and in Latin America so why not fill the World Cup referee pool overflowing with the best men from the leagues therein?

Mr. Coulibaly showed that he has no business presiding over a juice box-ridden and orange slice-infested FFPS lovefest much less a World Cup match.

All that said, here are some thoughts on what transpired:

Landon Donovan’s goal (below) could have decapitated Samir Handanovic, the Slovenian keeper.  Good thing for the U.S. and for the keeper that he chose to get out of the way of the ball.  Way to man up, Samir and look like some one just sniped you from the grassy knoll (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

Clint Dempsey was MIA today.  Team USA cannot succeed if this man does not perform like he’s very capable of performing match in, match out.

“Soccer” will never attain the popularity of American football, baseball or basketball here in America but it was heart-warming even for this Mexican to hear the Star-Spangled Banner sung and sung loudly by the thousands of Americans in attendance.

Major props to U.S. midfielder Michael Bradley for 2 things:

  1. His equalizing goal.  It’s bloody difficult to kick a ball at that height with enough power to get it past the keeper and enough touch to not sail it over the cross bar.  No, he’s not a starter on this squad merely because his Vulcan father is the coach.
  2. Not giving in to his impulse to deck the referee after being called “offsides”.  Bradley was livid, as you can see in this picture where’s he’s shouting at the referee, who by the way,  looks like D-Wade in about 20-30 years (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

Up next for Team USA, a stubborn Algerian team that played mighty England to a scoreless draw.  A win puts the Americans into the next round, let’s get it done Gringos!

One Response to Americans Haunted By A Phantom Call

  1. Pingback: USA! USA! USA! « Last Row

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