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

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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?   

Nike releases images of new U.S. Soccer jerseys, receives criticism of familiar design

Nike releases images of new U.S. Soccer jerseys, receives criticism of familiar design

The U.S. National Teams will rock a new look coming up soon. Instead of a blue and white color pallet on their existing jerseys, the new kit Nike unveiled today will be two shades of red. 

The U.S. men will first wear the red kits for their March 24th World Cup qualifying match against Honduras. The U.S. women will don them sooner, for the 2017 SheBelieves Cup from March 1 to 7. 

Similar to the previous designs, the new shirts will have color block sleeves with the words "1 Nation" and "1 Team" appearing on the inside hem. Men's team jerseys are crewneck, while womens are v-neck. 

Like all new uniforms, these have drawn some criticism, specifically for their resemblance to Portugal's 2016 home kit and England's 2016 away kit. 

What do you think; too similar or still too similar? Because it's hard to find the differences...

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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.

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