World Cup 2010: Koman Coulibaly Is Soccer's Jim Joyce
|Photo by Monica Fuentes|
|Houston fans cheer a GOOOOOOOOL|
Trailing 2-0 at the half, the Americans came to life in the second half to earn another point in the group stage, as they know face a must-win situation against Algeria on Wednesday, June 23.
The United States went down a goal in the 13th minute when Valter Birsa of Slovenia hit an absolute rocket from 28 yards out. Then in the 42nd minute, Zlatan Ljubijankic knocked in the second goal on the counterattack.
Where were the Americans in the first half? The Yanks had a couple of chances to tie the game in the first half, but Slovenia's defense was always quick to save their goalkeeper. Jose Torres had a ball cleared by the keeper, then Michael Bradley and Clint Dempsey each had a shot saved by a defender.
Even with those plays, the Americans didn't show the sense of urgency they talked about leading up to the game. I'm pretty sure US coach Bob Bradley bitch-slapped his team at halftime, because the US finally showed the urgency in the second half.
In the 48th minute, Landon Donovan started the comeback with ferocious strike from six yards out, shooting the ball over the head of the Slovenian keeper to cut the lead to one. Then in the 82nd minute, Jozy Altidore headed the ball into the box, where Michael Bradley came streaking in to level the game at 2.
The Americans came out in the second half and played inspired soccer. This was clearly one of the best single-half performances ever put on by a US team in the World Cup.
Then came the part where the US got fleeced. In the 85th minute, Donovan sent a free kick into the box, and Maurice Edu made what appeared to be the game-winning shot for the Americans; but referee Koman Coulibaly called a foul on the play.
Let me repeat his name, Koman Coulibaly.
Replays show absolutely no foul on Edu or any other American player, or any Slovenian player for that matter - simply put, there was no foul on that play. No offsides, no foul; just a goal.
Coulibaly apparently didn't see it that way, and disallowed the game-winning goal, the goal that would have marked the greatest comeback in American soccer history.
It's not like that was the only bad call the ref made throughout the match. Robbie Findley received a yellow card in the 40th minute for getting hit in the side of his face with ball.
That's what happened, although Coulibaly thinks a cheek is the same body part as one's hand.
Ultimately the game ended in a draw; not exactly what the US was hoping for, but not detrimental for the Americans' chances of moving on to the knockout stage.
Since England and Algeria tied 0-0, the Americans know what's at stake - win or go home. Still, the US will look back at this game, not just for the bullshit call that should have given the US three points and the lead in Group C, but all the missed chances throughout the game.