Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : July 24th 2015 Contents ATLANTA---After the feel-good
summer of 2014, the United States
was eager to pick up another Gold
Cup title and lock up its spot in the
next Confederations Cup.
Instead, the Americans are dealing
with one of their most shocking
Giving up two first-half goals on
set plays, one delivered by goalkeeper
Brad Guzan s blunder on a routine
throw, the US fell to Jamaica 2--1 in
the Gold Cup semifinals Wednesday
Forget another Concacaf title.
That will go to either Mexico or
Jamaica, who meet in Sunday s final
As for the Americans, it s time to
figure out what went wrong after
the first home loss to a Caribbean
nation since a 1969 defeat to Haiti.
They also face a playoff with this
year s Gold Cup winner for the North
and Central American and Caribbean
berth in the 2017 Confederations
A year ago, the American men
reached the knockout round of the
World Cup before losing to Belgium
in extra time, giving the world s most
popular game a bit more of a
foothold in a country still dominated
by football, baseball and basketball.
Throw in this month s victory in the
Women s World Cup, and US soccer
was really on a roll.
Well, before more than 70,000 in
the sold-out Georgia Dome, the
Americans were tripped up by an
island nation of some 2.9 million---
roughly half the population of metro
"The feeling right now is insane,"
said Giles Barnes, after scoring one
of Jamaica s goals off a free kick.
Barnes goal from 18 yards, a
hooking blast that sailed over the
American wall in the 36th minute,
wouldn t have been possible if not
for Guzan extending his right arm---
and the ball---across the penalty line
while making a throw.
"I was running down the field
when I heard we had a free kick,"
said Barnes, who plays in Major
League Soccer with Houston
Dynamo. "I didn t know what was
The 34th-ranked Americans were
stunned by the ruling.
"It s a call you don t see very
often," Bradley said. "It s a call I
wouldn t be making if I was a referee.
But I m not a referee."
Talk about disputed calls.
Mexico rallied for a 2--1 victory
over Panama on two late penalty
kicks by Andres Guardado---one in
stoppage time, the other in extra
After Roman Torres headed one
in off a corner early in the second
half, Panama nearly pulled off the
second upset of the night, despite
playing a man down most of the
game. Luis Tejada was sent off with
a red card after a hard tackle in the
When American referee Mark
Geiger signaled a penalty kick for
Mexico with the clock winding down
in the second half, ruling Torres
touched the ball with his hand in
front of the goal while falling to the
turf contesting a loose ball, the Pana-
manians erupted in protest. As fans
showered the field with cups and
trash, the two teams nearly came to
blows between their benches. The
match was halted for nearly 15 min-
utes before Guardado finally con-
verted the penalty.
Mexico won it after Geiger award-
ed another kick for Harold Cum-
mings takedown of Javier Orozco
in the penalty area, setting up
Guardado s winning goal in the
105th. The weary Panamanians
couldn t come back from that, but
they did muster the energy to go
after Geiger at the final whistle.
Security officers raced onto the field
to escort the referee and his crew to
the safety of the locker room.
"I ask myself why did this hap-
pen?" said Panama coach Hernan
Gomez through a translator. "We
were doing everything well. It is very
sad. We are people of football, and
I still can t believe this happened. I
wonder if this really happened."
Panama will take on the US in the
third-place game Saturday.
The Jamaicans charged onto the
field with pure joy at the end of their
victory, while a small contingent of
fans, clad in green and gold, saluted
the Reggae Boyz. Ranked 76th in the
world, they became the first
Caribbean nation to reach a Gold
Cup final---a sporting achievement
that had nothing to do with Usain
Darren Mattocks of the Vancouver
Whitecaps scored Jamaica s first goal
on a 31st-minute header directly off
a throw-in. Otherwise, the Amer-
icans largely dominated, finishing
with a 10--3 edge in shots on goal---
including eight in the second half,
as they furiously pushed the attack.
Jamaican goalkeeper Ryan
Thompson, who plays for the Pitts-
burgh Riverhounds in the third-tier
United Soccer League, turned aside
every shot but Bradley s goal in the
48th. Even then, Thompson stopped
a couple of attempts before Bradley
swooped in on the loose ball to fin-
ish.The defending champion US,
which had played in five straight
Gold Cup finals, was eliminated for
the first time by a Concacaf team
en route to the title game.
In the era when teams outside the
region were invited, the Americans
lost semifinals to Brazil in 1996 and
2003, and a quarterfinal to Colombia
"We had enough chances to put
this game away," said US coach Jur-
gen Klinsmann, insisting there was
no reason to panic. "The luck was
not with us."
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Friday, July 24, 2015
Plucky Jamaica, lucky Mexico
...to meet in Gold Cup final
Panama's Erick Davis (15) is restrained as tempers flare during the second half of a Concacaf Gold Cup soccer
semifinal between Panama and Mexico on Wednesday, in Atlanta. Mexico won 2--1 in extra time. AP PHOTO
ST PETERSBURG---Fifa has
asked the Russian Football Union
to explain the latest high-profile
incident of racism that saw a
Ghanaian player banned for two
matches for his reaction to fan
abuse and the alleged abusers
team escape action.
In video from Friday s Russian
Premier League game, Spartak
Moscow fans could be heard racial-
ly taunting FC Ufa midfielder
Emmanuel Frimpong. The former
Arsenal player, who posted a video
of the incident on social media, is
Reacting with a finger gesture
to the fans led to Frimpong being
banned for two games, while Spar-
tak escaped punishment over the
latest racism incident to blight
Russian football ahead of the 2018
World Cup. The RFU found no
evidence of racism.
But Fifa sustainability head Fed-
erico Addiechi, whose brief covers
racism issues, said yesterday that
the Russians have been given until
Tuesday to respond to the govern-
ing body s disciplinary department
after asking for details before sanc-
tions are imposed on Wednesday.
Addiechi said he is waiting to
see if "the evidence used to make
the decision ... that we can see
clearly on the internet has been
taken into consideration.
"We don t have a direct respon-
sibility for what s happening in the
Russian league," Addiechi said in
St Petersburg. "But if the Russian
Football Union are in need of our
support, and I think they are, then
we can provide certain support."
St Petersburg tomorrow hosts
the qualifying draw for the World
Cup, which has increased the spot-
light on the country s struggle
eradicating racism from football
"It is up to us as the organisers
of this event to make sure this
event is welcoming everyone, it is
safe for everyone---not just for the
players and participants but also
for the fans," Addiechi said.
"It would be naive and first of
all too arrogant for us to come here
and say we are going to educate
Russia. We are in no position to
do that, we don t need to do that,
we have no moral statute to do
Racism is Russian is not a new
concern for football. In December
2010, within hours of winning the
Fifa vote to host its first World
Cup, Russian leader Vladimir Putin
said on football racism: "We see
it and we believe it is a problem.
In February, football anti-dis-
crimination group FARE document-
ed more than 200 incidents of racist
and discriminatory behaviour linked
to Russian football over two sea-
sons. Russia has "no clear under-
standing what racism is," according
to Yuri Boychenko, who heads the
anti-discrimination section of the
United Nations Human Rights
Office of the High Commissioner.
Football body asks Russia why it
banned player for reaction to racism ST PETERSBURG---Sepp Blatter left
the security of Switzerland for the
first time in two months yesterday,
arriving for the 2018 World Cup qual-
ifying draw, with Russia saying that
communication with Fifa has been
disrupted by the corruption crisis.
Blatter will no longer be Fifa pres-
ident by the time of the 2018 World
Cup in Russia, with the 79-year-old
Swiss due to leave office in seven
months after almost 18 years in power.
The uncertainty about the leadership
of world soccer is creating some issues
for Russia, whose sports minister,
Vitality Mutko, joined Blatter on arrival
at his St Petersburg hotel yesterday.
The draw for World Cup qualifying
is tomorrow as Russia prepares for its
first major football event in three years.
"From the point of view of com-
munication with Fifa ... it is not as
easy as it was before," Mutko said
through a translator. "If you expect
that there will be a change in admin-
istration in February then communi-
cation is somewhat thwarted. But on
the whole it s not that critical, we do
manage to cope."
Since May 27---when police in Zurich
arrested some of Blatter s close asso-
ciates on behalf of the US and seized
data from Fifa headquarters---Blatter
has been absent from two major Fifa
events in countries with extradition
treaties with the United States.
Blatter skipped handing over the
trophy in New Zealand for the Under-
20 World Cup, and presenting the
Women s World Cup trophy in Cana-
"I am happy to be here. Definitely,
yes," Blatter said in his first comments
outside Switzerland since a pre-Fifa
Congress visit to Israel in May.
Blatter was then re-elected for a
fifth four-year term but announced
four days later he was quitting under
the weight of the Swiss and American
The Swiss are investigating the 2018
and 2022 World Cup bidding process,
but Mutko said: "We are in no doubt
that Russia will host the World Cup."
World Cup 2018 host:
Fifa crisis being disruptive
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