Controversy in Earthquakes 4-0 loss to Salt Lake


Controversy in Earthquakes 4-0 loss to Salt Lake

Until the hour mark of their game at Real Salt Lake, the Earthquakes were holding on. Salt Lakewas able to maintain possession comfortably and create chances, but couldntput one past Earthquakes goalkeeper Jon Busch. Thirty minutes later, the scorewas 4-0 and the Earthquakes were sent home with their heaviest defeat of the2011 season. The scoreline would reflect a late game collapse from San Jose, but to most observers in the San Jose camp, the game hinged on one moment. The home side finally got their breakthrough just after thegame clock hit one hour, but the controversial circumstances of the goal andEarthquakes defender Bobby Burlings sending off just prior has already broughtplenty of criticism from the Earthquakes and will leave fans talking for daysto come. In the incident, Real Salt LakesAlvaro Saborio went to the ground in the penalty area, apparently under contactfrom Burling. Referee David Gantar had no hesitation in showing Burling the redcard for denying a clear goalscoring opportunity and awarding Salt Lake apenalty, but replays soon showed that no Earthquakes defender had made anycontact with Saborio, who appeared to take a dive, and the incredulousreactions from the Earthquakes players seemed to confirm what fans watching ontelevision saw in the replays. I didnt touch Saboro. I thought it was going to be apossible yellow card for a dive if anything, Burling said. One-hundred percent Burling didnt touch Saborio. Heabsolutely did not touch him, I was standing right there, Earthquakesgoalkeeper Jon Busch said. The guy could have shot before he went down if hewanted to. He cut back against two defenders, neither Bobby (Burling) or Brad(Ring) touched him at all, whatsoever. Gantar had initially shown the red card to Brad Ring, whowas a few feet away from Saborio during the play, but after a conversation withthe assistant referee, gave the card to Burling, instead. Saborio would go onto convert the penalty, which put Salt Lake up 1-0 andeventually stood as the winning goal. Ring, naturally a central midfielder, had already beendeputizing as a central defender following his substitution for Nana Attakora,who made his Earthquakes debut. Following the ejection, Ring had to partner inthe middle with another out of position player, Chris Leitch, and Salt Laketook advantage, putting three more goals past Busch and the Earthquakes enroute to a comfortable 4-0 win. Despite the seemingly comfortable scoreline, though, theEarthquakes players were adamant that the red card and penalty changed thecomplexion of the game. Busch said, It changed the whole game. Up until thatpoint we were playing a pretty good road game against a very good team. Its up to the referee to make sure it is a penalty kickand that changed the game, Earthquakes head coach Frank Yallop said. Redcard, penalty, goal and we were screwed after that. Yallops opposite number, Jason Kreis, was naturally in amore diplomatic mood in the game, implicitly acknowledging that his team mighthave benefited from a refereeing call. However, his team had been the victim ofa similar dive by D.C. United forward Charlie Davies in the two teams June 18showdown, with the ensuing penalty forcing Salt Laketo settle for a tie instead of a win. You hope that over the course of a season some bounces aregoing to go your way and some decisions are going to go your way, and sotonight was one, Kreis said.As a consequence, the MLS Disciplinary Committeesubsequently fined Davies 1,000 by for putting the game in disrepute. Following the game, a number of Earthquakes players voicedtheir displeasure at the standard of refereeing and Saborios actions, not onlyto reporters in the locker room, but also on Twitter. Divingruins the game..Has to be punished harshly..the only way to get rid of it issuspending guys..4 such a good player it's a disgrace, Earthquakes midfielderJacob Peterson tweeted. Peterson was among the players booked, having beenshown a yellow card in the 15th minute for delaying a restart.Earthquakesforward Chris Wondolowski also weighed in on Twitter, calling the penalty andred card call the wrong one, saying Crazy how 1 call can help decide a gameand with it not even bein the right call. So frustrating. TheEarthquakes will now have to do without Burling, who will be suspended, andpossibly more players as they face D.C. United next Saturday, kicking off athree game home stand that could be vital to the teams playoff chances. Buschwas seen making a vulgar gesture to the referee following the penalty kick andcould face disciplinary action, while defender Jason Hernandez was injured priorto the game, potentially leaving the Earthquakes back line perilously thin asthey attempt to snap a seven game winless streak.Formore Earthquakes, MLS and world soccer musings, follow Nick Rosano on Twitter:@nicholasrosano

Dempsey hat trick lifts US over Honduras in statement win


Dempsey hat trick lifts US over Honduras in statement win


SAN JOSE — Bruce Arena's return as U.S. coach reignited American confidence, and his players responded with an emphatic rebound in World Cup qualifying.

Clint Dempsey returned from an irregular heartbeat to score his second international hat trick, 18-year-old phenom Christian Pulisic had one goal and set up three others, and the U.S. routed Honduras 6-0 Friday night to get right back in contention for an eighth straight World Cup berth.

Surprise starter Sebastian Lletget got his first international goal in the fifth minute after Pulisic's shot deflected off the goalkeeper, Michael Bradley doubled the lead in the 27th and Dempsey scored off Pulisic's perfectly weighted chip in the 32nd.

Finding room to maneuver in a central midfield role, Pulisic made it 4-0 just 12 seconds into the second half with his fourth international goal, Dempsey rounded the keeper to score following a Pulisic feed in the 49th, and Dempsey got another on a 23-yard free kick in the 54th. With 55 international goals, Dempsey moved within two of Landon Donovan's American record.

In its first competitive match since Arena replaced Jurgen Klinsmann, the U.S. moved from last to fourth in the final round of the North and Central American and Caribbean region, tied at three points with Honduras but ahead on goal difference, Mexico leads with seven points, followed by Costa Rica with six and Panama with four.

The top three nations qualify for next year's tournament in Russia, and the fourth-place nation advances to a playoff. With a victory at Panama on Tuesday, the Americans could move into the top three.

The U.S. had never before won a hexagonal game by more than three goals.

And oh how the American Outlaws and others among the lively home crowd loved every second of this long-awaited showing, chanting "Michael Bradley!" and "Demp-sey! Demp-sey!" through the Bay Area rain and cool March air.

Then, it was "Bruce Arena! Bruce Arena!"

Gloom descended upon the Americans in November when they opened the hexagonal with a 2-1 home loss to Mexico and a 4-0 wipeout at Costa Rica. The defeats caused the U.S. Soccer Federation to fire Klinsmann, who had coached the Americans since 2011, and bring back Arena, who lead the team from 1998-2006.

Dempsey, 34 and hoping to reach a fourth World Cup, was sidelined from August until this month by an irregular heartbeat and likely was starting only because of injuries to Bobby Wood and Jordan Morris. Tim Howard, the Americans' 38-year-old goalkeeper, got the shutout after returning only two weeks ago from a leg injury sustained in the loss to Mexico.

Geoff Cameron, back from a knee strain that had sidelined him for fourth months, was shifted to right back from central defense because of injuries to others, and Jorge Villafana was inserted on the left.

But there were yet more injuries. Lletget hurt his left ankle on Ever Alvarado's tackle and was replaced in the 18th minute, and defender John Brooks was stretchered off the field, hand over his face, in the 69th due to dehydration.

From the opening whistle, the U.S. played more aggressively than in the latter years of Klinsmann's reign. Arena revamped the midfield, giving a prominent role to Pulisic, who last week became the youngest American to score in the Champions League. He inserted Lletget and Nagbe, who were largely overlooked by Klinsmann last year, on the flanks.

The U.S. went ahead when Jozy Altidore picked up a loose ball and on his second try poked the ball ahead to Pulisic. His left-footed shot that went off goalkeeper Donis Escobar, and Lletget tapped in the ball with his right foot from 2 yards.

Bradley, given his debut by Arena in 2006, doubled the lead when he took a pass from Alejando Bedoya, cut to his left, took four touches and cut the ball back to beat Escobar with one-hopper from about 25 yards.

Showing poise beyond his years, Pulisic created the third goal when he lofted a pass to Dempsey, who allowed the ball of bounce off his right shoulder. Dempsey held off Henry Figueroa and while falling scored with his right foot from 8 yards.

What they’re saying: Let’s go USMNT against Honduras


What they’re saying: Let’s go USMNT against Honduras

The United States Men's National Team faces a critical match against Honduras. 

With an 0-2 record, and currently in last place, the USMNT is on the brink of not qualifying for the 2018 World Cup.

Motivation across the sports world is pouring in for the Red, White and Blue.