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.

-KD

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