Skip to content

Video of the phantom foul that has U.S. defender Matt Besler suspended for Tuesday’s World Cup qualifier

Sep 9, 2013, 11:22 AM EDT

Matt Besler

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Matt Besler’s yellow card Friday, his second of the final round of qualifiers, has him suspended for Tuesday’s meeting with Mexico. It was one of three yellow cards that left Jurgen Klinsmann scrambling, adding more players for the match in 36 hours in Columbus, where official qualification for World Cup 2014 is potentially on the table.

Besler and Omar Gonzalez have been the preferred central defensive pairing for the last five World Cup qualifiers.

It won’t be for Tuesday, and all because of the sorry gamesmanship from Costa Rican forward Joel Campbell. Watch the field level highlights from U.S. Soccer (which are always worth checking out, regardless of any opposition sorryness).

Campbell’s action is absolutely disgraceful. The Costa Rican federation should be ashamed (and should do the right thing by suspending Campbell for a game), and the match officials should be feel pretty embarrassed by being hoodwinked this way.

Matt Besler is just out of luck on this one:

U.S. Soccer has no official recourse here. Unfair as it is to Besler, those are the FIFA rules.

Teams (and their federations) may protest booking or ejections only in the case of mistaken identity. That is, if Besler had been handed a yellow card for a foul that Omar Gonzalez had committed – it has happened, where officials make heat-of-the-moment mistakes and issue cards where they don’t belong – then U.S. Soccer would have official recourse.

The action is at the 5:40 mark of the video:


  1. sdisesa - Sep 9, 2013 at 11:33 AM

    CONCACAF should rescind that card. What a joke.

    • perrinbar - Sep 9, 2013 at 12:16 PM

      Yeah, they should and they never will. Because why correct clearly terrible calls when you can just say “We don’t review judgement calls on the field”

    • saabrian - Sep 9, 2013 at 12:53 PM

      They won’t because CONCACAF itself i s a joke.

    • alphaadidas - Sep 9, 2013 at 1:57 PM

      Some content was stripped by our security filters, but it should be possible for one of your Editors to embed the content for you.

    • alphaadidas - Sep 9, 2013 at 1:59 PM

  2. mrstev - Sep 9, 2013 at 12:06 PM

    My question is: why is the ref coming back and issuing a yellow card on an occurrence that he clearly has not seen?
    Fifa has to look back at these instances use it as a learning point for refs. That would be after they’ve punished both the player and the referee.

    • bquills - Sep 9, 2013 at 12:36 PM

      The ref was obviously talking to the AR behind the play… the question is why did HE call for the yellow? Absolute ridiculous simulation and ridiculous that the refs fell for it.

  3. dfstell - Sep 9, 2013 at 12:30 PM

    Man….that’s really bad. As I recall, the referee just checked with the assistant referee who must have THOUGHT he saw something and then the referee felt the need to go with what the assistant claimed to have seen.

    As bad as CONCACAF referees are, is it really a surprise that the assistants are worse?

  4. Steve Davis - Sep 9, 2013 at 1:38 PM

    NOTE: Some of the comments on this thread have not-so-mysteriously disappeared. Accusations of racism and other hate speech will absolutely not be tolerated. The offender’s IP address has been blacklisted.

  5. wfjackson3 - Sep 9, 2013 at 1:45 PM

    What the hell was that guy simulating for in the first place? They were already winning 3-1. That’s a very disgraceful move.

    • mlsconvert88888 - Sep 9, 2013 at 2:31 PM

      This is so disgraceful on so many levels! You’re disgracing the sport and your country, not to mention your own personal honor as a competitor, and for what? The game was already well in hand, so this was just to remove a central defender from the US’s next game, which is some shenanigans that the AR is fully complicit in. To make that call you either had to be in on it, or you had to have a level of incompetence that is staggering for an international referee.
      It would be nice if for the rest of their careers, Joel Campbell and the AR were met with derision for this everywhere they went, but that’s just wishful thinking.

  6. alphaadidas - Sep 9, 2013 at 2:22 PM


  7. jsdenver - Sep 9, 2013 at 4:07 PM

    As much as I rise and fall with the team and live for the day the U.S. is recognized as a top soccer nation, I don’t want it to ever be at the expense of tolerating shameful play like this. FAR better to play with dignity and lose.

  8. lekajunkrawdad - Sep 9, 2013 at 4:13 PM

    First off, any and all cards that result in suspensions should always be reviewable. Always. I don’t know why that isn’t the case. It’s just ridiculous.

    It is also of my (I’m sure rather unpopular) opinion that the meager yellow cards generally brandished for diving and simulation aren’t nearly enough to curb that type behavior/cheating. But if teams had to start forfeiting points when their players are caught doing things like this, I can guarantee you that we’d see a whole lot less of it. As is it is, the offenders get off essentially scott free (sometimes outright rewarded when it results in a penalty) and the cheating/diving mentality is further reinforced. That’s bad for the game on a number of levels.

  9. gpry - Sep 9, 2013 at 5:58 PM

    Wow this is so bad!! They were up 3-1, not sure what the point was for the theatrics, but it worked! By laws need to be changed for these types of obvious phantom calls. It’s one thing if they were running and a mistake was made, but this is just bad for both teams, the ref, CONCACAF, and FIFA.

  10. alphaadidas - Sep 9, 2013 at 6:02 PM

    “case of mistaken identity” .. yes.. They gave the card to the wrong team.
    People get cards for Dives, how is this different?

  11. Canolli - Sep 10, 2013 at 8:09 AM

    Why are we talking about the refs “falling for it”? That was obviously planned. Notice the ref calling for the stretcher before even speaking to Campbell. Disgraceful.

Leave Comment

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!

Featured video

MOTD: United's offensive struggles