Copa Centenario: U.S. protests are thrown out

Copa Centenario organizers threw out the U.S protests over the red card issued to Jermaine Jones and yellow card handed to Bobby Wood a minute apart in the second half of the USA's 2-1 win over Ecuador in the quarterfinals. Jones, Wood and Alejandro Bedoya are all suspended for Tuesday's semifinal against Argentina in Houston.

U.S. national team coach Jurgen Klinsmann did not think much of the decision of Colombian referee Wilmar Roldan to send off Jones in the 52nd minute of the Ecuador, calling it an "'absolute joke" and "disgrace."

The incident followed the sending off of Antonio Valencia for his second yellow card. The incident began when Valencia took down Bedoya in front of the USA bench -- a clear yellow card, Valencia's second of the game, which would have given the USA a man advantage. But as players from both teams raced to Roldan, John Brooks shoved Michael Arroyo in the back, so when the Ecuadoran turned around to shove back Jones was right there.

Both players had their hands up, but Jones' left got Arroyo in the face, however slightly. Roldan didn't see it, but the fourth official, Brazilian Wilton Sampaio did, and Jones was red carded for violent conduct.

(Under new IFAB rules implemented for the 2016-17 season, "a player who, when not challenging for the ball, deliberately strikes an opponent or any other person on the head or face with the hand or arm, is guilty of violent conduct unless the force used was negligible.")

Before Jones left the field, Roldan allowed play to resume, and Wood immediately picked up a yellow card for a flying tackle near the midfield sideline on Jaime Ayovi. Klinsmann said the protest was "obvious" as Jones was still 30 yards from exiting the field.

“[Roldan] should never have given anything," Klinsmann said, "[or should have said], ‘Guys, relax a second and wait a second until the player moves off the field and then we take it from there.’"

Klinsmann said on Sunday his team fully prepared for Argentina even if he'll have to make three changes in the starting lineup -- four if he drops Matt Besler for DeAndre Yedlin, who will return for the Argentina game after being suspended against Ecuador.

"There is no need to talk and make Argentina bigger than they are," he said after the Ecuador win and before Argentina beat Venezuela, 4-1. "We played two years ago [against Cristiano] Ronaldo and that was a big game, too. We were winning 2-1 right into the 96th minute. We came so far now and we are hungry for the next step, even though we understand it is a big opponent."

6 comments about "Copa Centenario: U.S. protests are thrown out".
  1. Rusty Welch, June 20, 2016 at 11:36 a.m.

    I can understand not getting Jones' card overturned, but Woods' was ridiculous - play was started and he was given the yellow while Jones was still walking off the pitch! The referees at the Copa have been an absolute embarrassment, and a blight on an otherwise sterling competition.

    One other observation - I was at the game, and for us to only get 47 thousand and have it be the lowest turnout of the quarters in what is arguably the best soccer city in the country (if you measured by fan support), is absolutely abysmal. I guess on the positive side, we have more class than the Mexico fans who think it's ok to throw objects at the players on the field.... is there no security at the stadium? It wasn't clear from the tv coverage, but I saw nobody being arrested or thrown out after that, and would like to know if they were or why not.

  2. Claus Fischer replied, June 20, 2016 at 6:09 p.m.

    Rusty, thank you for your comments here. Do you have any insights as to why only just above 47,000 fans were in attendance in Seattle for that match vs. Ecuador? If I read it right, the Copa America Centenario organizers set the Seattle's CenturyLink stadium capacity at approx. 67,000 for this tournament. You are right -- as regards the MLS season matches, most of the rest of the league are terribly envious of the fine fan support and attendances that the Seattle Sounders achieve. Surely the USMNT in a big tournament like this is a magnet for the interested soccer fans in the Northwest of the USA? Only 2/3 full seems terribly embarrassing.

  3. John Hofmann, June 20, 2016 at 11:52 a.m.

    I guess it should not be surprising, to end up with this result from the same organization responsible for the tournament not allowing visual aids, so Brazil is knocked out on a handball that millions upon millions of people clearly saw but the refereeing crew was kept in the dark about. The FIFA wording refers to a player "striking" another player's face, and requirement of a red card unless the contact was "negligible". Jones' past discipline has been a joke at times, but anyone insisting his finger-tap was a "strike" is crazy. From there, it would seem the only logical decision would be to call the contact "negligible". But, of course, the referee never saw it, only called it. I guess that's kind of consistent, in a convoluted way...

  4. Claus Fischer replied, June 20, 2016 at 6:18 p.m.

    John, I am with you as to the problem with the decisions in Brazil's last (third) group game, a result that meant their drop from the tournament. Just please do not discount what might have been a Richter-scale magnitude result had the match officials not terribly erred when Ecuador scored the 1-0 against Brazil in the first group match for both in Pasadena. Fans really ought to be asking this: Why did Brazil not come to play well, to execute their play & style at least to 80% of their capability? It's not just the poor choices and team direction from Carlos Dunga. The questions is this: Why did a potential Copa America 2016 title mean nothing to Brazil's national team? As to the terribly inconsistent and career-long discipline problem child Jermaine Jones, well, Jones is a match official's whipping boy due to Jones' long, long list of undisciplined behavior on the field.

  5. John Soares, June 20, 2016 at 1:20 p.m.

    Rusty, I agree. Jones had no business being involved. This would easily be "negligible" contact IF it was during a play, arms flying. On the sideline, on a dead ball... right call. I too am confused with the start of play (what is the rule?) and subsequent yellow to Woods!?

  6. Kent James, June 20, 2016 at 8:28 p.m.

    The protest for the Jones card, I think was appropriate. While Jones was stupid to get involved, the "force" used was certainly negligible (from one angle, it looked like he barely touched him). I think it is hard to blame it on the referee, since he acted on the word of the 4th official. And since the 4th official saw the hand to the face, which by the new rule could result in a red card, I understand why he informed the ref. But I don't think Jones was trying to be an instigator (which I think the rule is designed to eliminate) as much as he got in a slight shoving match with the Ecuadorian, and one hand got pushed higher. I don't understand the Wood protest (though I think his loss hurts us more than the loss of Jones, which may be why the US tried to protest). While the ref should not have resumed play until Jones was off the field, it doesn't negate what happened. After all, if a player punched someone else while Jones was walking off the field, the ref would have to throw him out. I don't see the connection (or the basis for protest). But I would suggest that as a strategy, against Argentina, we try to play with 11 the whole game (maybe 12, if the refs aren't looking...)

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