The U.S. team just finished a breathtaking comeback against Slovenia, raging back from a 2-0 halftime deficit to score two goals in the second half. Wait, make that three goals--no, two. The possible game-winner, scored by Maurice Edu off a free kick by Landon Donovan, was called back by the referee, perplexing fans, sportscasters, and paid livebloggers alike. What happened?
- You've Never Seen the New York Times This Worked Up Jeff Klein, liveblogging for the Times, writes like he's bouncing out of his chair: "The free kick from Donovan was headed in by Edu, but the Malian ref called a foul and waved off the goal! BUT THERE DIDN'T SEEM TO BE ANY FOUL!" He watches the replay, and confirms: "the only players being fouled were Americans!" He does admit that the foul leading to the free kick itself was "a total dive," and says later: "don't want to blow my own horn, but if you scroll all the way down you can [see] the questions about the ref coming into the match."
- Odd Call Paul Doyle covering the game for the Guardian's highly entertaining World Cup liveblogs, is similarly unsure about the call: "the referee's whistle had already gone so it won't count.Quite why the referee's whistle had gone is not clear--there was no offside and the only fouls being perpetrated were by Slovenians holding on to assorted American jerseys. Mystifying decision." Later, he adds: "I saw nothing wrong with the goal that was ruled out." His colleague Sean Ingle with the post-game writeup says the goal was called back "apparently for offside."
- 'Harshly Ruled Out' The BBC's David Ornstein reports, who says it was "for an alleged pull." He notes that "the US players were furious."
- 'World Cup Refs Make Jim Joyce Look Good' Graham Kates at True/Slant is not happy, comparing the referee to the controversial umpire decision that cost Galarraga a perfect game. "We weren't offsides. If anything, one of our guys was getting fouled. Downright bear-hugged even." He reproduces U.S. forward Landon Donovan's post-game remark about the ref, noting that this was "the guy's first World Cup game."
- If the Brits Said So, Then Yeah We Were Robbed National Review write Daniel Foster doesn't really follow soccer, but this incident confirms all his feelings regarding international relations:
we got hosed on a nonsense off-sides call by a referee who, according to the Brit announcers, had been screwing us all day. Not only was the goal taken back, but a blatant foul on the play against an American defender was completely ignored.
Games like this are why we won't join the ICC!