Here's my theory. We start off qualification against a fairly easy caribbean nation normally. We typically roll over them in the first game and let our reserves handle the second. Then we enter the semi's. We are normally matched up with at least 1 Central American team, the norm is probably 2 and they are normally officiated by a ref from a different Central American nation. We play againts guys like Carlos Ruiz for close to 2 years getting hacked in the ankels and dodging elbows until finally, late on in the hex we finally figure out how to play just as physically. (see Onyewu's stare down match against Mexico in '04 I think it was). So after two years of adjusting to this excessively physical style of play we go to the world cup with international officials and see player after player tossed out for fouls that are permitted in our region but not worldwide. How much do you think the physical style of these Central American nations affects our mentality and approach to the game when we enter the World Cup and other intercontinental tournaments? Let's not forget Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, Cuba and sometimes Haiti aren't really a bunch of pansies either. Michael Orozco would have gotten away with that elbow with a warning or maybe a caution in the Mexican league. I highly doubt it would have deserved a straight red in league play. Mastroeni's straight red in against Italy (if I remember right) might have gone uncalled in CONCACAF. It probably would have been called and cautioned but a straight red is a bit inconsistant with CONCACAF officiating. I just went back and watched Eddie Pope's sending off in the same game. It is similar to Mastro's. I still think it would have been yellow or less in CONCACAF. Tell me what you guys think?