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USA 1, Costa Rica 0: Match Highlights

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In a match that could be best described as a true chess match between an ultra-defensive Costa Rica side, and an attack-minded U.S. Men’s National Team, Tuesday night’s Gold Cup showdown came down to an amazing late save by Sean Johnson, and match-clinching passing sequence by Joe Corona, Landon Donovan and Brek Shea to deliver the game-winning goal.

Here are the match highlights:


  1. There is a huge difference between a Denial of a Goal (DG) and a Denial of a Goal Scoring Opportunity (DOGSO). USSF says so, English FA says so. I think i’ll listen to them instead of an annoying commentor on SBI. The first one is pretty obvious in the rules, that the DG only applies to handling. The the USSF and English FA provide further instruction to their referees on determination of DG and DOGSO because the LOTG is fairly general in these areas. US Soccer uses the 4 Ds for DOGSO ONLY. Although, some of the Ds are used for DG, they don’t all have to be ‘yes’, especially if it’s a DG-H. The referee is required to use their judgement and experience to determine if the shot would have gone it. So, i think it’s important to differentiate between a DG and DOGSO, ya know, if you want to apply the right criteria. That being said, I don’t know what criteria CONCACAF or Courtney Campbell use. I find they both kind of suck at the refereeing.

    • You claim that USSF provides different and additional guidance on this? Oh, really? Point out where USSF indicates a difference between DG and DOGSO. You won’t find it, but if you do, post it, please. I would suggest to you that you are being overly literal in your reading of the law. A player physically cannot deny a goal, since a goal isn’t scored until the ball is all the way across the line. A player can only deny goal scoring opportunities of varying degrees of obviousness.

      Ball on the line moving into the net? Very obvious.
      Ball at the penalty spot moving to goal? Obvious.
      Ball rolling to goal at the top of the penalty arc? Not obvious.

      As for the English FA: Who cares? They have no jurisdiction here, other than their IFAB membership. Even that is indirect in that the set the LOTG, and the pulished guidance. Their directives to English Referees have absolutely no bearing on US or CONCACAF referees. Were I to follow them, I would do so at the risk that my sanctioning bodies would later overturn my decisions for misapplication of the LOTG. They also have no bearing on Campbell, since he is a Jamaican referee working under a FIFA certification.

    • Specifically, you should look at the 16-SEPT-2002 directive* on the 4Ds. It has no differentiation between “preventing” a goal, and denying an obvious goal scoring opportunity, and it is clear from the text of the directive that it is intended to apply to both situations.

      I’m sorry, sir, but unless this directive has been superseeded by USSF, you are wrong.

      *I’d provide a link, but my current firewall settings prevent me from accessing it directly finding the URL. Sorry about hat.

  2. Can I just add my voice to the chorus that singing about how silly it is that we can’t say the word papa-alpha-sierra-sierra on a soccer blog.

    PAPA-alpha-sierra-sierra-india-november-golf is about three-quarters of the game.

  3. Shea was in the 6 yd box when the GWP started. He is keeping with the herd moving in the direction of the CRC goal, then at 2:13, he presses the turbo charge button. Way to go kid!

    I know that people criticize the finish, but we dont all need to be reminded that there are 100 ways Shea couldve flubbed his lines at that moment, including 29 ways he could have made a bad first touch, 18 ways he could have made the wrong decision, and 6 ways he could have shot differently.

  4. The ref really deserves an A + for the yellow card on the CR goalie. Contrary to Fox soccer and the Doctor who think it was a red card it was wasn’t.

    To be a Red Card it has to be a clear goal scoring opportunity. If the goalie doesn’t use his hands the ball would have hit him in the stomach. To be a Red the goalie would have had to have had his hands above his head or off to the side, not in front of his body.

      • An addendum: you “disagree”, and you can claim that is you’re opinion but you are wrong. There is no opining on the matter. The LAW (not “rule”) is very clear — it needs to be a CLEAR goal-scoring opportunity. We, referees, need to take into account the 4 D’s: 1) number of DEFENDERS, 2) DISTANCE to the goal, 3) DISTANCE to the ball, and 4) DIRECTION of play.These four D’s *MUST* be satisfied in the following manner in order to issue a Red card:

        1) Number of Defenders — not more than one defender between the foul and the goal, not counting the defender who committed the foul

        2) Distance to goal — the closer the foul is to the goal, the more likely it is an obvious goal-scoring opportunity

        3) Distance to ball — the attacker must have been close enough to the ball at the time of the foul to have continued playing the ball

        4) Direction of play — the attacker must have been moving toward the goal at the time the foul was committed

        Numbers 3 and 4 were definitely satisfied — the attacker shot the ball so he was close to ball and the direction of play was towards the goal. BUT, there were TWO defenders between the goal and the ball (the goalie who committed the cautionable offense and the costa rican defender in front of the goal. So, obviously, number 1 was not satisfied. And for overkill, number 2 wasn’t satisfied because the distance to the goal was, in the referee’s opinion, did not pose a serious threat had the goalie been in place.

        So you see? There is NO debate. Anyone who thinks it was a red card needs to leave this to those who actually know.

        Everyone’s a critic. I’d love to see you guys out on the field. That is all.

      • As a formerly-certified USSF Ref who will be re-upping in the fall, you explained it wonderfully. Bravo.

        I would just disagree slightly with the reasoning on the second D while agreeing with the conclusion. You can’t consider “had the goalie been in place,” because he wasn’t. You can only consider the play as it occurs. The distance from foul to goal was about twenty yards, which on an open net, is about as OGSO as it gets. That said, the net wasn’t open. There was another defender behind the GK, and a 20-25 yard shot on goal with a man in the goal mouth, even an outfield player isn’t an OGSO.

      • When the shot was taken, the defender behind the GK was literally a step inside the 18, not “in the goal mouth”.

    • This is a terrible misrepresentation of the rule. What if a goalie catches the ball outside the 18? He could do that without having his hands above his head or off to the side.

      Intentional handballs outside the 18 need to be a red. Every time. USMNT got CONCACAF’d on that one.

      • Nope. You’re wrong. OP is right.

        The law is “Denying an obvious goal scoring opportunity by deliberately handling the ball…” That includes blocked shots, but can also include knocking the ball away from an attacker who’s about to shoot. Go find yourself a copy of the LOTG, and look at the interpretation of this situation on page 126.

        The CR defender in behind the play made it not an obvious goalscoring opportunity, because he might have been able to block or deflect the shot. The R didn’t see him in behind the play, which was why he went for his red card first. The AR told him that it wasn’t an OGSO because someone else was in position to block the shot, so it was reduced to a yellow for USB.

        The refs played this one exactly right.

      • I didn’t realize the AR advised him but the more I watch the reply the more it appears not to be an OGSO.

      • Yeah… If you watch the replay, you can see the R go to his right pocket as he’s talking on the bat phone. Then his hands go down, and when they come back up, he pulls the yellow card out of his left pocket.

        He was going to send Pemberton off, but the AR told him that it wasn’t an OGSO because of the CR defender that might have been able to block the shot.

      • Incorrect. The defender behind the play was literally a step inside the 18 when the shot was taken. He was in no way “in position to block the shot”.

      • He was, and are you really going to consider a shot from 25 through three defenders an OGSO? How many times a match do you see someone take a crack from there and have it fly in to row ZZ?

        There’s a reason that long-distance shots fill highlight reels: they create goals from non-obvious scoring chances.

      • The goalie outside the 18 is no different than any other player so the same rules apply to him. Every time the ref calls a handball it is deemed deliberate or intentional, so in your example if the goalie came out of the 18 it would only be a RED card if he prevented a goal scoring chance. There have been situations where players often think the whistle has blown or play has stopped and the player will reach down and pick up the ball. In these cases they usually are NOT carded even though they picked up the ball.

        This rule is more misunderstood than the offside rule.. Had it been a CB verses the goalie I think people would be less freaked out by play

        In the game last night there is no evidence that the ball would have gone in, more than likely it would have hit him in the stomach.

    • Not quite.

      To be an obvious goal scoring opportunity, the CR defender in the penalty area needs to be somewhere else. From the interpretation of the LOTG:

      There are two sending-off offences that deal with denying an opponent an
      obvious opportunity to score a goal. It is not necessary for the offence to occur
      inside the penalty area.

      If the referee applies advantage during an obvious goalscoring opportunity and
      a goal is scored directly, despite the opponent’s handling the ball or fouling an
      opponent, the player cannot be sent off but he may still be cautioned.

      Referees should consider the following circumstances when deciding whether
      to send off a player for denying a goal or an obvious goalscoring opportunity:
      • the distance between the offence and the goal
      • the likelihood of keeping or gaining control of the ball
      • the direction of the play
      the location and number of defenders
      • the offence which denies an opponent an obvious goalscoring opportunity
      may be an offence that incurs a direct free kick or an indirect free kick

      • “To be an obvious goal scoring opportunity, the CR defender in the penalty area needs to be somewhere else.”

        That is not at all consistent with the LOTG. It says that you have to consider the location and number of defenders. That does not mean that one defender in the penalty area automatically prevents a situation from being an obvious goal scoring opportunity. Here, the defender was literally one step inside the 18 when the shot was taken, with no chance to make a play on it.

      • One step is a yard, which means he was about four or five yards behind the GK. That’s plenty of space for a reaction.

        Nothing is automatic, but the defender was in a position to be able to make a play on the shot. I thought red, too, but as soon as I saw the defender slip in behind on replay, I knew that all it could be was a yellow, because a shot from distance past three players is not an OGSO and never will be.

    • Ok, this conversation is interesting but the “referees” posting here don’t necessary have their reasoning correct. For deliberate handball, the rules state a red card should be given for for ‘denying a goal’ OR a ‘DOGSO’. There is a slight difference that applies only to deliberate handball. Hence, if the shot was on target (i.e. a goal) then the goalie should have been issued a red card for denying a goal using deliberate handball. While the discussion on DOGSO is correct, listing all that stuff is not necessary if the shot is on target and the deliberate handball denied the goal. I haven’t seen a decisive angle for the shot being on target before being blocked, so I can’t say Yellow or Red either way. But if it’s on target, then red; off target is a yellow.

      For a foul that will result in a free kick and for deliberate handballs not denying a goal, then you go to the DOGSO 4 Ds.

      • Waterlewd: Surely you’re not suggesting that a shot through three defenders from 25 yards is “a goal”.Right? That would be a rather ridiculous assertion.

        In any case, your assertion that a different standard applies is wrong. There is only one section in the Law 12 guidance regarding these situations, and it is entitled, “Denying a goal or an obvious goalscoring opportunity.”

        As you’ll note in my post as of 11:00 AM, that guidance states (emphasis added), “Referees should consider the following circumstances when deciding whether to send off a player for denying a goal or an obvious goalscoring opportunity…[listing of the 4 Ds]”

        Thus, you still consider the 4 Ds, and in this case, they were not satisfied.

      • Waterlewd: Surely you’re not suggesting that a shot through three defenders from 25 yards is “a goal”. Right? That would be a rather ridiculous (alpha)ssertion.

        In any case, your (alpha)ssertion that a different standard applies is wrong. There is only one section in the Law 12 guidance regarding these situations, and it is entitled, “Denying a goal or an obvious goalscoring opportunity.”

        As you’ll note in my post as of 11:00 AM, that guidance states (emphasis added), “Referees should consider the following circumstances when deciding whether to send off a player for denying a goal or an obvious goalscoring opportunity…[listing of the 4 Ds]”

        Thus, you still consider the 4 Ds, and in this case, they were not satisfied.

      • Uhhg…I didn’t even want to jump into this mess. It’s up to the referee to determine if the shot would have resulted in a goal. Being that the goal was empty, it’s logical that any shot on target would be a goal. I haven’t seen a good angle of this though, so feel free to make any judgments you want. I jumped in to correct the reasoning for making these calls in general and didn’t make judgement on the call made. But, if we’re going to argue about anything it’s whether the shot was on target or going in. Arguing about the DOGSO is moot, because the player was not denied the opportunity, as exemplified by the actual shot I just don’t understand why we’re even talking about DOGSO. It’s the wrong thing to focus on.

        You are wrong about the rules. Most Recent FIFA Rules Seems like your rule book is old, bro. Page 39. I think FIFA changed this in 2010/2011.

      • And what do you think you’re considering when you consider whether a shot is on target or not?

        Hint: It starts with a D.

        Answer: Direction of play and distance.

      • Who’s annoying and just doesn’t get it?

        Hint: It starts with a M.

        Answer: That’s right, it’s Mason.

      • Mine was to 2011/2012 version accessed from FIFA’s website. It was what came up in google. The verbiage in the 2012/2013 version has not changed.

      • Basically: your attempt to parse between a denying a goal and DOGSO is inconsistent with the Guidance to Referees included in the Law Book. The LOTG and the guidance recognize no difference.

    • Obvious goalscoring opportunity does not mean “would have necessarily been a goal but for the infraction”. It means just what it says: obvious goalscoring opportunity. That was an obvious goalscoring opportunity, denied by a deliberate handball. Open and shut red card.

  5. I realized last night I hadn’t watched the US/Cuba highlights yet so I made the trek all the way to PAGE 9 to watch them, which makes sense, they were posted a whole 2 DAYS earlier. It’s okay Ives keep the change, buy yourself something nice.

      • The issue isn’t the amount of content – it’s the amount of content per page. Ives, can we have more stories per page, please? At 6pm on Wednesday the Wednesday kickoff was already back on page 3!

      • Joamiq, as I noted earlier, the main page has as many as 10 stories on the front at a time, and it isn’t all the time that we’re posting more than 10 stories in a day. Generally, what we are doing now is filtering the best stories into the main panel by the end of the day, and leaving the lesser stuff to the bottom four stories on the page. We are doing this to make better use of the lesser space on the page, but we’ve gone to fewer stories on the page in order to help the page load faster.

        As for the Wednesday Kickoff falling to Page 3, if it did, it wouldn’t do so until the evening because generally I’m keeping the kickoff either in the main panel or in the bottom four stories for most of the day.

        We might go back up to six stories underneath the main panel, but only when we boost ad sales and have need for more slots on the right side.

      • Hey man, I appreciate the response, and you know I’m just trying to give you some feedback, not be a pain. Here’s the thing – I think the main page design is fine, but when you get past that, why are there only four posts per page? You don’t really need the box at the top of every older page, since you’ve already seen it if you’ve gone past the first page. Unless it’s a limitation of the way the site is set up, it’d make more sense to have pages after the first page just show 6-8 stories per page, without the same main panel at the top of every page. Otherwise if you’re a junkie like me and you need to read everything, but you fall behind on a busy day, you have to keep loading several old pages to catch up, and if you have to keep loading more pages, that defeats the purpose of reducing stories per page to help the pages load faster. Of course, I could just read everything off an RSS feed on my tablet, but then you wouldn’t get revenue from my page views 🙂 Anyways, just a suggestion.

      • Can’t differentiate story number from the main page and other pages. If we could, I would.

    • I typed in Cuba highlights into our search module on the right and the USA-Cuba highlights popped up in 1 second.

      I’m sure there are websites that can help you better understand how to use the internet. Or you could go back to school 😉

      Kidding aside, I have reduced the number of stories per page in order to help the site load faster for people. As it stands, people should be able to find as many as 10 stories on the main page (six in the main panel and four underneath the main panel. If you want to find older stories I would suggest using the search function or categories function. It should never take you sifting through nine pages to find anything on this site.

      • All good advice guys and thanks for the feedback. Really, I just wanted to know that you still care Ives. When I get home at 10pm, after spending all day at work and in class I’d prefer to just scroll down the page and see the entire days blogs. I guess I can learn to use your tabs and get better at searching for things I’ve missed. Keep up the good work. I’m glad to see you have as much of a sense of humor on the blog as you do on twitter. I knew you’d understand.

      • +1, i’ve complained about the changes, too. just shows that a nice, polite response can go a long way.

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