OT: FIFA looking into Costa Rican protest of WC qualifier against U.S.

Submitted by Moleskyn on March 25th, 2013 at 10:08 AM

Just saw this on ESPN, and honestly, I think there's merit to Costa Rica's protest. I can't believe they finished that game. Conditions were terrible, and I'm pretty sure everyone in America would be crying for a replay if we had ended up on the wrong side of the score. That said, the decision is up to FIFA. Do you think they'll force a replay? And if so, what are the implications of that? Would the U.S. still retain any points for the win, or would the first game be erased from the history books?



March 25th, 2013 at 10:12 AM ^

As someone who wants to see Alabama come up to the Big House and play in sub zero weather, it would be hyprocritical of me to suggest a game should be replayed due to a snow storm.  


March 25th, 2013 at 10:18 AM ^

I think 'battling the elements' so to speak is part of the event. If they would have called the game before hand, then ok. Since they did not you cannot really take the game back. I know they may have never seen snow in Costa Rica, but these guys are professionals. Play the U.S. in march and snow could potentially be a problem. And I agree 100% with the bama statement. Would love to watch those southern folks freeze up here in the cold.


March 25th, 2013 at 11:00 AM ^

This I tell you is stupid. First off its not like the field and conditions were different than when Costa Rica had the ball. Second I'm sure the US doesn't go out and find a snow storm and then practice. This is why soccer annoys me it's a princess sport.


March 25th, 2013 at 11:13 AM ^

Then baseball must really piss you off.  They cancel an entire series if there is even a sprinkle.  I've played both football and soccer.  Soccer is not as princess as people think.  Sure, there are some whiny people that play soccer, but I've seen bad injuries and hard collisions in both.  Is soccer as tough as football, no.  But it is tougher than any other big sport sans hockey.

Wisconsin Wolverine

March 25th, 2013 at 11:26 AM ^

I have also played competitive soccer at a number of levels, and while I agree that the sport, in its purest essence, is a tough & physical game, I would also have to agree that the culture of professional soccer is a little bit "princess-ish".  So to me it's two different things - a great game full of beautiful action that I can't stand to follow due to the terrible implementation of rules and the subsequent total corruption of the spirit of play.


March 25th, 2013 at 11:31 AM ^

Flopping has really hurt the sport.  But honestly, it is hard to blame the players when flopping often results in massive advantages.  The real underlying problem is the massive impact referees can and often do have on games.  When the average game is decided by a goal, flopping near or in the penalty box can give a team a win on one play.  The average possession gives a team a, what, 2.5% chance of scoring?  A PK gives them a 70-75% chance of scoring and a free kick from under 35 yds gives them maybe a 10-20% chance.  What other sport gives such a MASSIVE advantage due to a single play?  It'd be like awarding a football team 17 pts for pass interference in the end zone.

The only way to correct this is to either change the rules (probably not going to happen) or improve the quality of the refereeing and/or penalize divers.  If the referee sees an obvious dive they now simply give a warning.  If the player was sent off (could make the rule looser... caught diving 2x in ~5 games = 1 game suspension) or there were actual negative results for essentially "cheating" the game would improve. 

Basketball is suffering from something similar, though less influential, with charging.  Essentially, playing to the referees / manipulating the rules is more beneficial than actually playing the sport well.  The playing to the advantage of the rules should never trump playing the game.



March 25th, 2013 at 11:31 AM ^

The biggest reason for cancelling is the infield. Having worked at a park where we had baseball fields, it's much closer to clay than it is real dirt. When you get any rain at all it doesn't drain; the water starts pooling on the infields and they get really slippery. Even with cleats it's actually really dangerous to run on. Not to mention trying to field a grounder on a wet infield; it would hit the dirt and just die. The game would be unplayable. I've played soccer in a torrential downpour and it was fun; baseball... not so much.


March 25th, 2013 at 10:18 AM ^

The ref tried to stop the game then the players said they wanted to keep playing.  I wasn't watching the game closely but I'm pretty sure both team's players wanted to continue.


March 25th, 2013 at 10:38 AM ^

Also, soccer teams typically play games in locations that work to their advantage.  Whenever the US stupidly agrees to play in Texas or California against a Latin American team, the stadium is 75% away supporters.  The US played Mexico in Columbus in November a few years back and it certainly played to our advantage.  Mexico routinely plays in Azteca... a stidum of over 100,000 aggressive fans in smog-ridden / high-altitude Mexico City. 



March 25th, 2013 at 11:38 AM ^

Yes, but then US Soccer agrees to play El Salvador in El Paso or the like.  What a short-sighted view.  Great, ticket sales are up but then any non-El Salvadorian American turns on the tv, sees the stadium full of El Salvadorians and the sentiment that "Americans don't care about soccer" is more engrained in non-fans.  In reality, numerous cities outside of Texas / California are beginning to be soccer hotbeds, but we'd rather throw away our home games to sell tickets.



March 25th, 2013 at 10:22 AM ^

"One clause says that when a field becomes unplayable, the protesting team's captain "shall immediately lodge a protest with the referee in the presence of the captain of the opposing team."

It didn't look to me like thecaptain or, for that matter, any one on the CR team complained to the official during the game.


March 25th, 2013 at 10:23 AM ^

out to me three reasons that nothing should come of this. (I say should because you never know with FIFA)


First, the game looked like it was going to be called off, but both sets of players appeared to be protesting and advocating to the head official for play to continue.  The announcers pointed out several times that the final say is down to the official--and he gave in to requests and allowed play to go on.


Second, teams/countries routinely take advantage of their home climate to get the most out of a home field advantage.  In the USA's last game against Honduras--which the USA lost--it was reported that Honduras changed the kick-off time so that the game would be played during the sweltering 100+ degree temperatures during the day.  This type of tactic, trying to get the most out of a homefield advantage, is not that uncomon.  It is also notable to mention the USA didn't change any kick-offs to take advantage of the snowstorm.


Third, as I have heard many others say: this is what CONCACAF soccer is all about.  Water-logged fields, huge dirt mounds, uneven ground, rough play, and generally shitty playing conditions.  This, the history of bad game conditions, might not be the best reason to allow the game to stand, but it does set precident.


March 25th, 2013 at 10:24 AM ^

The USA should agree to replay this game just as soon as the rest of CONCACAF stops playing on slanted cricket pitches and 1970s Astroturf.  

El Tigre- we picked Denver on purpose.  The US often plays away games in the tropics in the middle of the day; home-field advantage is serious, serious business in World Cup qualifiers.  

Drunk Uncle

March 25th, 2013 at 10:44 AM ^

I was at the game. Yeah the weather was miserable but I don't believe the snow gave us a huge competetive advantage. The CR team played very well and could have easily tied the game. I think they out shot us but I'd have to look at the stats. 

Like others have said, some of the CONCACAF pitches are absolute jokes and home team players know every mound and pot hole and use it to their advantage. Quoting a Canadian player after a game in Cuba - "if you want to play in CONCACAF you have to accept, endure and overcome...". 




March 25th, 2013 at 11:06 AM ^

I think you could make the case that the pitch in the last third of the game was unplayable. The snow did, at that point, seem to be impeding the movement of the ball, but unless the Costa Rica captain lodged a complaint to the ref in Dempsey's presence, I don't think there's any case.

I don't trust the announcers accounts of what was going on with the Costa Rica players because they (at least Twellman) was in total US homer mode when continuing the game had significant advantages for the US. It did, however, lead everyone to try to find that clip from Bad News Bears: Breaking Training.  

If they do overturn this result, the US should lodge a protest everytime we visit Jamaica, claiming that the uneven pitch impedes the ability to pass the ball.


March 25th, 2013 at 11:08 AM ^

The odds of the protest woking are extremely low. There's basically no precedent for it for one. The referee and match official allowed the game to be played, and ultimately, both teams had to play in the same conditions. It was hardly and advantage for the US.


March 25th, 2013 at 11:17 AM ^

It's funny how the US didn't file a protest after the Honduras game, where it was intentionally scheduled in the middle of the day, and the day was designated as a Honduran national holiday to ensure the best possible fan turnout.  If the answer by FIFA is anything other than bellowed laughter, I'm going to think something is up.  Oh wait, FIFA is already corrupt.  Crap.


March 25th, 2013 at 11:26 AM ^

As a preface: I don't think this protest will succeed, nor should it, given the rules governing protests.

But I do think there's a qualitative difference between playing in extreme temperatures and playing on a field where an accumulation of snow or rainfall impedes the ability of the ball to move and the referee to determine the boundary markers. By the end of the game, I think the snow was doing both. But it is, in the end, the referee's decision and Costa Rica didn't apparently pursue a protest in the manner laid out by FIFA


March 25th, 2013 at 11:29 AM ^

As I was watching I was thinking how smart it was to make Costa Rica play in such foreign conditions.  All the southern teams seem to look for the hottest, wettest times to play down there.  

That said it looked pretty unplayable. 


March 25th, 2013 at 12:07 PM ^

I thought they would protest about more of their blatant red card-worthy fouls being ignored.  I have not watched many games where there was more thuggery by one team than I saw out of Costa Rica.  A--holes.


March 25th, 2013 at 12:17 PM ^

The only red-card worthy foul I saw was on the US, when Jermaine Jones elbowed the guy in the face. He embellished the contact to all get out, but that was at least orange in a European league game (and almost certainly red in la Liga). Here, it didn't even receive a card.

I think the ref decided early on that he wasn't going to call anything in a game in such weird circumstances. If I'm right, it certainly cost the US a penalty, but it may have also kept Jones on the field.