Bradley still sore at decision
He's now watched the video more times than he can bear and has no doubts it was a perfectly good goal. Twenty-four hours after seeing his team robbed by the biggest refereeing blunder of the tournament to date, USA coach Bob Bradley had resigned himself to harsh reality - but not without a good deal of frustration.
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Having battled back from two goals down against Slovenia on Friday, Maurice Edu's 85th minute close-range effort was disallowed for an infringement no one in the stadium saw - let alone the millions watching worldwide. Except, that is, for the Malian referee Koman Coulibaly.
"Did I think it was a good goal? Yes I did," Bradley said as he faced reporters on Saturday while contemplating the moment he and his team thought they had secured three precious points, only to end up with one. "The only thing that could have been called would have been a penalty kick for us."
Whilst television replays showed plenty of pushing and shoving in the area, there was nothing to suggest foul play - not by the Americans at least. Asked whether referees should, like in gridiron football, give reasons for controversial calls, Bradley simply acknowledged that the two sports had their own codes and should be viewed in that context.
In past World Cups, FIFA has sent home officials who have not been up to scratch in the group phase and Coulibaly could join that list when FIFA's refereeing committee reviews footage from the Group C clash. His mistake will only increase calls for the introduction of instant replays for controversial decisions, something FIFA has strongly resisted up to this point.
"There are times when a referee, for whatever reason, blows (for) a foul and then thinks he didn't make the correct call," Bradley said. "You can speculate all you want about which guy (fouled), I think it is a waste of time. I think there was nothing there. I think it is a good goal and that's it."
The Americans are not about to dwell on the incident for much longer, however. Preparations for the decisive Algeria match on Wednesday are all that count now.
"I ended up feeling bad for the team and for our fans because a 3-2 comeback win at that moment would have been something special for everybody," Bradley said. "It didn't happen that way, we put it behind us. We understand that if we win (against Algeria) we advance and we understand the possibility that we (can) still win our group. We have moved forward."
Whilst they can do nothing about referees' decisions, the Americans are getting tired of always having to save their best football once they have fallen behind. It happened against England in the first group game, it happened against Slovenia on Friday, and it has happened several times in the recent past.
"It's not something you can really put your finger on," defender Jay DeMerit said. "The positive side is that we tend to use the situation as fuel to our fire. Just imagine what could happen if we start well."
Imagine indeed. Bradley, for his part, didn't see anything wrong with the way his team started against Slovenia. It's all a question, he says, of not getting too paranoid about it.
"We probably had six, seven, eight attacking movements going forward in that early stretch. It's frustrating when you keep finding yourself behind but you never know how games will go."
With the group coming down to the last series of matches on Wednesday, Bradley is realistic about his team's chances of advancing. Early games, he says, are notoriously unpredictable, over-cautious and often with no pattern or rhythm.
Only when they are safely negotiated does the true momentum start. Will he, therefore, be keeping an eye on England's game against Slovenia when USA take on Algeria? Some coaches would say no but Bradley gives a refreshing assessment of what's at stake.
"In the third match you have to have some sense of what's going on in order to give you some idea of what you need to do yourselves. Of course we'll be staying on top of England-Algeria. But let's be clear - the bottom line is that we have to do the business and take of things ourselves."