American cards in World Cups

Discussion in 'USA Men: News & Analysis' started by mrliioadin, Aug 18, 2008.

  1. mrliioadin

    mrliioadin New Member

    Feb 16, 2006
    Hagerstown, MD
    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?
  2. Sachsen

    Sachsen Member+

    Aug 8, 2003
    Broken Arrow, Okla.
    Sporting Kansas City
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    I agree.

    But it doesn't seem like it's just limited to us. It seems like WCs are always officiated much tighter than normal club league games or international friendlies or continental tournaments. Probably for a multitude of reasons (FIFA/Blatter come up with new guidelines for referees just for World Cups, pressure on all parties [refs, players, coaches] which leads to tighter, more tense play, etc.)

    That's just one of the things that a good coach needs to be aware of and prepare for. If some of your players are particularly prone to fouls and cards (Michael Bradley, I'm looking at YOU), the coach better be aware that the chances of seeing yellow or red in an important match are going to go up accordingly in a World Cup. And adjust for it, either by reading that player the riot act about not playing stupidly, or sitting them in favor of someone who can better keep their wits about them.
  3. Beazley17

    Beazley17 Member

    Dec 30, 2006
    South Florida
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Well, as the post above me said, World Cups are always called much tighter so that is the reason. But what you said is also true. In concocaf the play style is physical, and the refs lets players get away with a lot of cheap shots, but you gotta play smart in the world cup, and players who are proned to cards, ie Bradley, the coach has to sit down and talk to him. Just like the poster above me said.
  4. dna77054

    dna77054 Member+

    Jun 28, 2003
    I think you are off the mark here.

    First, the Mexican refs call very tight games in the Mexican league. Players get tossed there for much less than in MLS.

    Second, Mexico, TnT, Costa Rica etc play against the same teams with the refs in qualifying, yet I do not remember them getting any red cards in the WC, (except Mex vs US) Maybe they did, I just do not remember it.

    If one wants to "blame" Concacaf qualifying for our cards/fouls in the WC, I would posit a different hypothesis. In Concacaf we mostly face either nations with good technical skill, but a somewhat slower pace of play (Central America), or with somewhat limited tecnical skills but blazing pace (Caribbean). So we can really press the defense on one group because they are slow and on the other group because they do not handle the ball that well. Then comes the WC teams with pace and technique and all of a sudden we are arriving late in the tackle when the ball is not longer there, but the player is. This issue is seen more with the US because we rely hardnosed high pressure defence in the WC against good teams, than with Mexico, which still plays their technical possession game, or Costa Rica, which plays a run and gun back and forth type of game.

    And the throwing of stupid elbows is just being a dumb@ss.
  5. gizhukov

    gizhukov Red Card

    Dec 14, 2002
    WC refs are human I assume (bad joke) . Human beings all have their biases either consciously or subconsciously. This plays a part in the US receiving very questionable Red Cards or their opponents being awarded questionable PKs. IMHO There are several issues which unfortunately work against the US in important tournaments which may explain why it seems other CONCAF teams such as Costa Rica, Mexico, T&T etc. don't draw undeserved red cards/PKs as much as the US. The US is the most successful nation overall in sports and of course, in non sporting areas. For example 47 of the world's top 50 Universities are located in the USA. The one very popular sport the US has not achieved any success in is soccer. The other issue is the immense hostility the US receives because we are since the demise of the Soviet Union, the world's only super power.

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