The United States was robbed of their third second-half goal against Slovenia Friday morning by an unfathomable whistle. The goal was scored by Maurice Edu, one of Bob Bradley’s three second-half substitutes, off a set piece delivered by Landon Donovan. According to a report from ESPN, referees explained that the whistle signaled a foul on Maurice Edu. But the only apparent fouls on the replay are by several Slovenian players. The play should have undoubtedly ended in a third goal for the United States, or at worst, a penalty shot. The United States got off to a herendous start in this their second match of the 2010 World Cup, allowing two Slovenian goals in the first 45 minutes.
The poor officiating now puts the United States in quite a predicament. 3 points would have almost guaranteed the United States advancing to the knockout stage, but now they will be praying for a draw between England and Algeria. Such a result, however, is highly unlikely given that England now knows they need a win to keep their own World Cup hopes alive. If England goes on to win, as presumed, the United States will need a victory over Algeria and a win from England over Slovenia. These are still the likely results, but as we’ve seen thus far, anything can happen in the World Cup.
It is unbecoming to dwell on poor refereeing, but it is also difficult for Americans to hold their emotions in check. To have a goal unfairly disallowed in the midst of possibly the most important comeback in United States soccer history is simply inexcusable. As Alexi Lalas said, the refereeing was disgraceful. And it cost the United States two points today. But instead of praying for a draw this afternoon, pray for our team. It will take a great effort on the part of these Americans to refocus and understand that they still have control in this group. The most important thing, beat Algeria. Beat them badly.