Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Copa Oro Rigged? Say it ain't so!

So after the weekend of Quarter Final action in the 2007 CONCACAF Gold Cup, new complaints were heard from losing teams that CONCACAF has rigged the tournament to ensure that the USA vs. Mexico dream final will take place. Costa Rican head coach, Hernan Medford stated that CONCACAF had already determined when and where the two teams would be playing their Quarter Final matches before their last group phase matches took place. So based on that, he feels that CONCACAF are favoring the two teams.

Panama seems to be feeling something of the same poison. Ives highlights this on his site, as the Panamanian captain, Felipe Baloy says that the calls were all going the USA's way in their match up on Saturday. He says that the USA vs. Mexico result is what CONCACAF wants.

So, is that happening?

I am not sure, but I doubt it. I do think that CONCACAF, in order to get the most out of their little regional championship, does want and hope that the final match up will be the USA vs. Mexico. That is the biggest draw in the region and should provide the most revenue. So I think that they would want that result to happen.

Are they actively manipulating the events of the matches and the final results? I don't think so. CONCACAF and its refs can give penalty kicks, but they still don't account for the other 7 goals that the USA has scored in the tournament thus far. Yes, the second goal on Saturday was off of a free kick, which if you want to say was due to the ref giving the call, but the USA still had to convert the free kick, which Bocanegra did very well.

As for the cards issue, didn't Gooch get tossed from the first game? Haven't there been at least 7 times a USA player has been called offsides when it is clear as day that he was still onsides? If anything, the officiating thus far in the tournament has been negative against the USA. The same complaints that Medford brought up from the Costa Rica/Mexico match were brought up after the USA vs. Guatemala match. Guatemala were tackling just as hard as the USA, but the US players were getting called out for fouls and given cards.

I think that the biggest problem in this tournament (and I have already brought this up before) is that with the exception of the Mexican ref Benito Archundia, CONCACAF doesn't have good officials. Their experience is limited to piss poor leagues and the majority of the refs that called up for international duty are not international quality. You rarely see a UEFA ref allow a match to get so out of hand that they are handing out Yellow Cards like they are dinner rolls, yet in a CONCACAF match, it is damn near common practice.

Because of the poor officiating, the teams that can actually adapt to the horrible calls are the ones that can actually rise to the occasion. So in a sort of twisted way, all those years of the USA getting the short end of the stick while playing in CONCACAF has sort of trained us to expect bad calls and to have our team adapt to them. Add to this the fact that our squad has probably become the fittest squad in the region and probably has more talent in our B Squad than most Q Squads, the other nations have to result to a more physical type of play, which as in the case of the Panama match, plays right into the poor officiating of the CONCACAF refs. As we watched the match on Saturday, my girlfriend asked me why Panama was playing like a bunch of thugs, always chopping down guys. I told her I thought it was the only way they felt that they could handle our players, as they couldn't match their talent or work rate.

Is CONCACAF trying to ensure that the final has USA vs. Mexico? I doubt it. I think we would have seen several more PKs called in the Mexico matches than we did. The fact that we have only seen one PK for Mexico (and it was in their 2-1 loss to Honduras) makes me feel that CONCACAF isn't trying to get the Mexicans into the final. The only real way CONCACAF has affected the tournament was when they announced that there would be no invited guests. Considering that in past tournaments, the USA or Mexico have pretty much only been ousted from the tournament by an invited guest, CONCACAF went a long way towards stacking the deck against the rest of the region.

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Blogger I-66 said...

Terry Vaughn was awful in the Costa Rica/Mexico match. The fact that he's an American makes it even more dubious that Mexico got the benefit of the calls, in my opinion.

9:44 AM  
Blogger Brian said...

Yeah, that is why I only mentioned the Mexican ref as being a good ref.

In all honesty, all the CONCACAF refs should be fired.

9:46 AM  
Blogger Andrew said...

Yeah Benito Archundia is a great ref... barf.

7:51 AM  
Blogger Brian said...

Yeah well, things do change.

9:33 AM  

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