In Tie With Slovenia, Why Was U.S. Goal Called Back?

Robbed?! Or a good call?

This article is from the archive of our partner .

The U.S. team just finished a breathtaking comeback against Slovenia, raging back from a 2-0 halftime deficit to score two goals in the second half. Wait, make that three goals--no, two. The possible game-winner, scored by Maurice Edu off a free kick by Landon Donovan, was called back by the referee, perplexing fans, sportscasters, and paid livebloggers alike. What happened?

  • You've Never Seen the New York Times This Worked Up  Jeff Klein, liveblogging for the Times, writes like he's bouncing out of his chair: "The free kick from Donovan was headed in by Edu, but the Malian ref called a foul and waved off the goal! BUT THERE DIDN'T SEEM TO BE ANY FOUL!" He watches the replay, and confirms: "the only players being fouled were Americans!" He does admit that the foul leading to the free kick itself was "a total dive," and says later: "don't want to blow my own horn, but if you scroll all the way down you can [see] the questions about the ref coming into the match."
  • Odd Call  Paul Doyle covering the game for the Guardian's highly entertaining World Cup liveblogs, is similarly unsure about the call: "the referee's whistle had already gone so it won't count.Quite why the referee's whistle had gone is not clear--there was no offside and the only fouls being perpetrated were by Slovenians holding on to assorted American jerseys. Mystifying decision." Later, he adds: "I saw nothing wrong with the goal that was ruled out." His colleague Sean Ingle with the post-game writeup says the goal was called back "apparently for offside."
  • 'Harshly Ruled Out'  The BBC's David Ornstein reports, who says it was "for an alleged pull." He notes that "the US players were furious."
  • 'World Cup Refs Make Jim Joyce Look Good'  Graham Kates at True/Slant is not happy, comparing the referee to the controversial umpire decision that cost Galarraga a perfect game. "We weren't offsides. If anything, one of our guys was getting fouled. Downright bear-hugged even." He reproduces U.S. forward Landon Donovan's post-game remark about the ref, noting that this was "the guy's first World Cup game."
  • If the Brits Said So, Then Yeah We Were Robbed  National Review write Daniel Foster doesn't really follow soccer, but this incident confirms all his feelings regarding international relations:
we got hosed on a nonsense off-sides call by a referee who, according to the Brit announcers, had been screwing us all day. Not only was the goal taken back, but a blatant foul on the play against an American defender was completely ignored.

Games like this are why we won't join the ICC!

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.