Controversy swirls over no-call in first leg of DCU-HOU

picture_4.png

Controversy swirls over no-call in first leg of DCU-HOU

NBC's announcers couldn't believe what they saw, then didn't see just before the half Sunday night as the Black and Red began the first leg of their Eastern Conference Championship series in Houston.

Up 1-0 with seconds left before halftime, United forward Raphael Augusto charged to the net after flicking a ball over Dynamo defender Andre Hainault and midfielder Calen Carr. Augusto's opportunity was quickly cut short, however, when Hainault came shoulder to shoulder and hooked arms with the DCU rookie before falling to the ground.  On the way down, Hainault wrapped his legs around Augusto's for good measure and the two took a tumble that allowed goalkeeper Tally Hall to collect the ball safely.  

No whistle came from referee Ricardo Salazar.

"100 out of 100 times that's a red card," said NBC analyst Kyle Martino during the halftime broadcast.  

"Everybody in the stadium, everybody on our bench, everybody on their bench, everybody at home saw that it's a red card," said DCU head coach Ben Olsen. "It's a take down, it's a red card."

Houston would go on to score three unanswered goals in the second half, placing DCU in a two goal deficit heading into Game 2.  
 
"It should be a red card," United captain Chris Pontius echoed to reporters after the match. "We should be up a man with a free kick at the top of the 18. I don't understand how that's not a red card. That changes everything."

Salazar, however saw things differently.

"Based on my angle there was contact by both players and therefore, no offense was identified," Salazar said in an interview Sunday night.  The head referee went on to explain that he would not have issued a red card because of the other defensive players in the area who nullified a clear goal-scoring opportunity.

Also on hand Sunday night and weighing in on the issue for MLSsoccer.com, general manager of the professional Referees Organization Peter Walton.

"From the angle I saw in the stadium I thought it was a foul," said Walton. "I would've expected a yellow card. Looking at it in real time, I thought the tracking defender [Houston's Luiz Camargo] could have influenced the outcome of that particular play and the benefit of the doubt would go to the defending team in a situation of a denial of a goal scoring opportunity."

Check out the replay below and tell us what you think. Should there have been a whistle? Red card? Would it have changed the game as Pontius said?   

It's official: U.S. Soccer hires Bruce Arena to replace Jurgen Klinsmann

It's official: U.S. Soccer hires Bruce Arena to replace Jurgen Klinsmann

NEW YORK – Bruce Arena is returning to coach the U.S. national soccer team, a decade after he was fired.

The winningest coach in American national team history, Arena took over Tuesday, one day after Jurgen Klinsmann was fired. The 65-year-old Arena starts work Dec. 1.

With the U.S. 0-2 in the final round of World Cup qualifying, the U.S. Soccer Federation wants to spark a turnaround when the playoffs resume March 24 with a home game against Honduras.

"His experience at the international level, understanding of the requirements needed to lead a team through World Cup qualifying, and proven ability to build a successful team were all aspects we felt were vital for the next coach," USSF President Sunil Gulati, who fired Arena in 2006, said in a statement. "I know Bruce will be fully committed to preparing the players for the next eight qualifying games and earning a berth to an eighth straight FIFA World Cup."

Arena first took over as national team coach after the 1998 World Cup and led the U.S. to a 71-30-29 record.

"I'm looking forward to working with a strong group of players that understand the challenge in front of them after the first two games," Arena said in a statement. "Working as a team, I'm confident that we'll take the right steps forward to qualify"

A wisecracking Brooklynite known for blunt talk and sarcasm, he coached the University of Virginia from 1978-95, then led D.C. United to titles in Major League Soccer's first two seasons before losing in the 1998 final. He guided the Americans to the team's best World Cup finish since 1930, a 1-0 loss to Germany in the 2002 quarterfinals.

He was let go after the team's first-round elimination by Ghana in 2006. Arena coached the New York Red Bulls of MLS from July 2006 to November 2007, then was hired the following August by the Galaxy. He led the team to MLS titles in 2011, 2012 and 2014.

Arena was inducted into the U.S. National Soccer Hall of Fame in 2010.

RELATED: AFTER 18-MONTH DOWNWARD SPIRAL, KLINSMANN FALLS ON HIS OWN SWORD

Marquez's late goal lifts Mexico over US 2-1 in World Cup Qualifier

usatsi_9669071.jpg
USA TODAY Sports

Marquez's late goal lifts Mexico over US 2-1 in World Cup Qualifier

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) -- Rafa Marquez scored on a header in the 89th minute, and Mexico beat the United States 2-1 Friday night in the Americans' first home loss in World Cup qualifying since 2001.

Miguel Layun put Mexico ahead in the 20th minute, but Bobby Wood tied the score in the 49th.

The U.S. dominated the second half before the 37-year-old Marquez, unmarked and drifting across the penalty area, got the back of his head on Layun's corner kick and lifted the ball over goalkeeper Brad Guzan.

Guzan lost the goalkeeper job to Tim Howard, who started at the last two World Cups. But Howard injured his right leg on a goal kick and was replaced in the 40th minute.

The U.S. had beaten Mexico four straight times by 2-0 scores in home qualifiers -- all at Columbus -- and the Americans had been 30-0-2 at home in qualifying since a 3-2 loss to Honduras at Washington's RFK Stadium in September 2001.