Bob Bradley the day after: ‘It was a good goal’
IRENE, South Africa (AP) — The U.S. is moving on, with no way to appeal the disallowed goal that would have given the Americans a lead in their 2-2 World Cup tie against Slovenia.
Referee Koman Coulibaly of Mali called off an apparent goal by Maurice Edu off Landon Donovan’s free kick in the 85th minute Friday night. The U.S. already had rallied from a two-goal deficit.
“There is no process for appeals for a decision on the field,” team spokesman Michael Kammarman said Saturday. “We have not asked for any official comment from FIFA in regards to the call.”
Players asked Coulibaly repeatedly why he whistled off the goal. Speculation has ranged from a possible foul on American captain Carlos Bocanegra, who had an arm around Nejc Pecnik, and one on Clint Dempsey, who pushed Andraz Kirm.
Looking at the replay, more Slovenes were holding Americans than vice versa. Aleksandar Radosavljevic held Michael Bradley in a bear hug,
Bradley had his own theory: Coulibaly might have regretted his decision to award the free kick. Valter Birsa had been called for a foul on Steve Cherundolo.
“I think it’s a good goal, first. I think the only things really that could be called would be penalty kicks for us,” coach Bob Bradley said. “There are times when a referee, for whatever reason, blows a foul and now thinks either he didn’t make the correct call on the foul or from a previous play, and then literally as soon as the free kick’s taken, he blows his whistle, OK?
“So you can speculate all you want about which guy and everything, I think it’s a waste of time. All right? I think there was nothing there. I think it’s a good goal. And that’s that.”
FIFA spokesman Nicolas Maingot said Saturday the governing body would not discuss Coulibaly’s performance before a scheduled session Monday, when the 30 World Cup officials and members of the FIFA Referees Committee will meet with the media.
The U.S. team has been besieged with questions why soccer referees don’t publicly explain controversial decisions, as umpires and referees do in U.S. sports.
“We’re all accustomed to the fact that if it’s an NFL playoff game and there’s a call that’s in question, there will be a statement by the league from the referees, but FIFA operates differently,” Bradley said. “There are some aspects of it that are not made 100 percent clear. That seems to add to the discussion about the game. So from our end we get used to that. And we all have friends and family who ask us the same questions that most of you ask, and you end up saying that’s just how it is sometimes, and then you move on and you get ready for the next game.”
The U.S. would advance from the group phase if it beats Algeria on Wednesday or even with a tie as long as England loses to Slovenia. If the U.S. and England both draw, the Americans would advance if they maintain their goal advantage over the English, currently 3-1.
But if England draws and scores two more goals than the U.S. does in the final game, the United States and England would finish even on all tiebreakers. FIFA would conduct a drawing of lots — it’s unclear whether that means a coin flip or another method — to determine which team goes to the second round.
The only time lots were used in a World Cup was in 1990, when the format was slightly different and 24 teams competed. Both Ireland and the Netherlands advanced with exactly the same results, and FIFA used lots to determine the Irish would finish second in Group F and the Dutch would be third.
In the next round, the Netherlands lost to eventual champion Germany, while Ireland won a shootout over Romania to get to the quarterfinals, where it fell to host Italy.
“I don’t think anyone really wants that, to be honest” defender Jay DeMerit said. “I think as players and as a team and for fans, it should never really come down to things like that, but unfortunately that’s the rules we live by. There’s still a lot of soccer to be played between all four teams. And like I said, it will be very interesting to find out how the chips fall. And now we just have to make sure that we take care of things of our end and hope that it doesn’t come to something like that.”
NOTES: The Slovenian Press Agency said forward Nejc Pecnik will miss the rest of the World Cup because of a broken ankle sustained in a collision with Dempsey late in the game.