Congratulations to the LA Galaxy on their 5 – 2 victory over El Salvador’s Isidro Metapan yesterday. An own goal caused by a dangerous Beckham cross, a Robbie Keane header from a David Beckham cross, a goal from a corner by Beckham (that should probably count as an own goal against Metapan’s keeper), and two goals from Juninho after great interplay passing with Michael Stephens and Mike Magee. (Yes, that is the one and only Mike Magee of #MikeMageeFacts twitter fame.)
The galaxy played as a team, good passing, good vision, and took (most of) their opportunities well. They were the more dangerous of the two sides and deserved the win. They didn’t deserve to be playing a large portion of the second half with only 10 men though.
In the 70th minute, Keane did very well to cause some havoc along Metapan’s back line and while slipping the ball through the last two defenders he went to ground. It looked like a foul on first glance. The slow motion replays clearly show the Metapan defender first clipping Keane’s right leg and then stepping on Keane’s left foot without getting any piece of the ball. Somehow, though, the referee missed all of that completely and booked Keane for diving.
Okay, fine, that happens. The ref missed a call. That’s part of the game. And, I have no problem with a ref showing a yellow card when he thinks a player has dived. Good! Let’s clean up the game and make it beautiful again. What happened next was as far from beautiful as I can fathom.
Robbie Keane was incensed. He knew he had been fouled and somehow the ref had decided to book him for diving. He got up, looked to the sidelines, and made the twirling gesture with his hands to signify he wanted to be subbed out. The ref took that as decent and booked him again, sending him to the showers early, forcing the Galaxy to plan a man down for the remaining twenty minutes, and making Keane ineligible for the Galaxy’s next Concacaf Champions League game next week.
Was it decent? Questionable. Did it deserve a red card? Absolutely not.
Am I alone in wondering about the string of questionable calls American teams seem to have go against them in international competitions? These questionable calls were very obvious during the South Africa World Cup but have been a consistent problem for a very long time. Why is that?
On top of suspect officiating, their seem to be additional problems with the tournament. The Metapan team were without several players for the game yesterday because they weren’t able to get the proper visas to enter the country. How does that happen? Can you imagine the uproar if starting players for Barcelona, Manchester United, AC Milan, Bayern Munich, Porto, Ajax, etc…, etc… missed a UEFA Chamions League group game because they weren’t allowed to enter the country?