June 18, 2010

Slovenia 2, U.S.A. 2: Just about every reaction to the result today blames the Malian referree for stealing a win richly deserved for the Americans. Rallying from a two-goal deficit to tie an opponent noted for its defensive savvy, then having what appeared to be the winning goal taken away with less than five minutes to play for what appeared to be a phantom foul seems a bitter pill to swallow. But there are two things to remember about today's officiating.

First, there were no fewer than four Slovenian players who received a yellow card today, as opposed to only one American. That is an unusually high total, and even if we exclude the red card not given for a rather blatant trip in the second half near the penalty area, the Slovenians can not be happy about how that it impacts their future in the tournament. Second, Clint Dempsey could easily have been sent off in the first minute of the game for a rather vicious elbow to the head, a play not dissimilar to the one that got de Rossi a red card and four-game suspension in the middle of the last World Cup (interestingly, against the U.S.A.). So lets not hear any whining from Americans tonight.

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