Friday, June 18, 2010

U.S. Robbed by Mali Ref v. Slovenia

Robbed. Absolutely and unadulteratedly robbed. Kiss me next time you're gonna screw me Koman Couilibaly of Mali. You're lucky your name isn't Smith and no one in the United States gives a shit about soccer. Robert Green needs to Google "Bill Buckner"; you need to Google "Don Denkinger" because you royally screwed the United States men's national team out of three points and passage to the second round of World Cup 2010.

A referee is supposed to stay out of the way, call a game fairly and objectively and not influence the game in either direction. You blew it Koman Couilibaly. Your phantom foul/offside call that wiped out Maurice Edu's go-ahead goal against Slovenia today was horrific. A clusterfuck of Biblical proportions.

Now because of you Koman Couilibaly, the United States needs a lot of help to get into the World Cup's version of the Sweet 16. We have to root for England and Algeria to tie and then root for, gag, England to beat Slovenia. All because you decided to blow your whistle after you saw something that wasn't there.

I hate blaming the ref for a team's woes. The U.S. was pitiful in the first half; Tim Howard was out of position on the first goal, but I'll contend the U.S. defense, Oguchi Oneywu in particular, gave the Slovenia goal scorer too much room, was way too late in reacting to the realization he was going to shoot, and then to top it off, he leaned and ducked in the wrong direction. Howard had no prayer to stop it and the shot was well placed and very opportunistic.

On the second Slovenia goal, the diagonal pass was sensational and Steve Cherundolo and Jay DeMerit were on their heels leaving Howard exposed. No shot.

And that's what set the stage for Koman Couilibaly.

The U.S. sure as hell knows how to close out a game; if it ever figures out how to start one, they'll win the World Cup.

Some other random thoughts:

  • Landon Donovan is a star; so much maturing and confidence and that goal is the goal of the tournament so far. He scared the Slovenia keeper into not even attempting to block the shot, which was hit with such pace and fury, I can't say I blame him.
  • Clint Dempsey disappeared unfortunately today
  • Jozy Altidore isn't a star, but he sure as hell thinks he's one. When he decides to play and go after the game instead of thinking it should come to him, he'll be the star he thinks he is.
  • The U.S. defense; major suckage again. Though Cherundolo has been the best of a bad bunch. Oneywu? I just don't know about this guy and whether he'll ever live up to the hype. He just ain't that good; forever out of position.
  • Michael Bradley, much better today and just a perfect finish to the tying goal. Bob Bradley's insertion of Herculez Gomez put a third attacker up front and freed up Bradley to own the middle of the field and finish. Credit Roberto Martinez of ESPN for that analysis -- spot on.
  • Finally, let's go tie game today!

Subscribe to Starting Eleven


Jonathan Wallace said...

Fantastic post. I couldn't have said it any better.

I'm still pissed at the center but I'm proud of our 2nd half.

Anonymous said...

Well analyzed on this blog - I agree with the notion that the U.S. side, and their defensive miscues in the first half, were to blame in setting up even the chance that a poor call by the ref could influence the outcome of the match. I've always coached players to create their own destiny, especially in matchups that look favorable on paper. The logic (and effort/focus/execution) should be thus: Play well enough, score enough, that even a horrible officiating crew will not be able make a call that actually effects the outcome of the game.
THAT SAID, Any thoughts on the ref's personal (or, conspiratorially, FIFA's institutional) motivations for "allowing" a non-winning outcome for the U.S.?

Starting11 said...

I'd rather think the referee was just incompetent and not on the take. The reverse is just too awful to contemplate. He saw something that wasn't there, maybe he thought Edu was pushing off, or that Dempsey was holding instead of being held. I'm not sure FIFA would have an institutional motive to keep the U.S.; I'd say in the grand scheme of things for FIFA, the U.S. is pretty inconsequential?