Friday, June 18, 2010

Frankly Speaking: Robbed? Koman Coulibali snatches win from U.S.

Heartbroken. Hopeful. Elated. Robbed. Relieved.

You can use any number of adjectives to describe the way U.S. fans feel after that 2-2 draw with Slovenia. It was a roller-coaster ride of emotions.

First, I was absolutely heartbroken. At the half I thought the U.S. World Cup was over. All the talk about soccer finally growing roots in American culture, millions of dollars spent in advertising by ESPN, adidas and other agencies, would vanish after two measly games.

Next came hope after Landon Donovan roofed a brilliant goal. I moved to the edge of my seat after that strike - it brought back memories of Luis Fabiano finding net in the 46th minute to spark Brazil to a 3-2 comeback win over the U.S. in the 2009 Confederations Cup. Maybe this time it would be the Americans finding that second-half swagger?

When Michael Bradley volleyed in the equalizer in the 83rd minute, I got chills. The standing-room only crowd at The Brit in Downtown San Jose erupted. Chants of "USA! USA! USA" bounced around the room, fans high-fived and hugged as the U.S. resurrected its World Cup hopes.

However, it was the 86th minute that will linger in every American's mind. A silence filled the room as the ball hung in the air, destined for U.S. glory at the foot of Maurice Edu - then jubilation.

"This is it. This is that magic moment U.S. soccer has needed. That epic, highlight-reel comeback win that lives forever," I thought.

Then came the tragic news. Offside.

(It turns out the call was actually a foul on Carlos Bocanegra. Bocanegra, coincidentally, was in a headlock during that play.) (Edit: Check that, the foul, as of 10:24 a.m. PT has been changed to Edu. We'll keep you posted as this mystery whistle continues to evolve.)

Malian referee Koman Coulibali (Now trending worldwide on Twitter) spoiled what would have been the best match of the 2010 World Cup to date, but at least the U.S. are still alive.

Perhaps against Algeria the U.S. won't allow a 2-0 halftime deficit. For now, U.S. fans should feel relieved - after all, the Americans were 45 minutes away from elimination.

Let's hope that sense of urgency never leaves.


  1. The US needs to start cultivating some defenders. This digging out of a hole seems to happen year in and year out.

  2. I definitely agree with you. I watched the first half and it was BS. My frustration stems from a call that no one is sure what it was for. If the call was for something that was legit, well then, yes, US team you blew it in the first half and live with it. But, no one knows what was that call for! Catch my drift.

  3. The call turned out to be on Carlos Bocanegra, but I suspect the center ref made that up on the fly because Bocanegra was in a headlock.

    Horrible call, but how about the U.S. plays with that sense of urgency for a full 90 rather! How can you come out flat for a World Cup match? We're not that good that we should underestimate anybody.

  4. The US should not be relieved. They should be outraged. They won that game 3-2. And 3-2 counts the same as 1-0. This ref was guilty of whistling to eliminate "perigo de gol" several times. That's a ref that's simply not good enough.

  5. Ref should be banned from soccer... but the US threw the game by not showing up until the 2nd half. They left waaaay too much room for the other team to hold and think. No pressure at all. Totally unacceptable. I have no idea why we start games basically asleep and watching.

    The denied goal was a goal to be sure - so I'm plenty upset about that - but I'm more frustrated with our team's poor performance in the first half. We should not have been in a position to have to blame this game on the ref.