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Jozy Altidore ‘disappointed’ by upcoming suspension, CONCACAF officiating

Photo by Vincent Carchietta/USA Today Sports

From the referee to the result, from Jozy Altidore’s point of view, the U.S. Men’s National Team’s 2-0 World Cup qualifying loss to Costa Rica showcased classic CONCACAF.

The forward was booked in the 80th minute after an altercation with Johan Venegas and will miss the USMNT’s next World Cup qualifier at Honduras on Tuesday. Speaking about the incident, Altidore did not hold back.

“He kicked out at me after the ball and I thought it was really soft. I just went up to him, didn’t touch his face, I didn’t put my hands up,” Altidore said, adding that he did so intentionally,in order to avoid committing a yellow card offense.

Eventually, though, Venegas “goes down grabbing something.” Altidore said “stupid things like that happen,” but insisted that it was no big issue.

It was ridiculous,” he said. “Nothing happened. There’s nothing there.”

As for the referee’s decision, Altidore found it to be “pretty disgraceful.”

“There are key moments where you have to rely on the referee [and] his judgment,” Altidore said. “It didn’t go our way tonight with some of his calls.”

“It is what it is.”

On his suspension, Altidore said he’s “disappointed,” but has confidence in his teammates. The USMNT’s forward pool is as deep as it has been in quite some time.

Bobby Wood was held relatively quiet by Costa Rica on Friday, but the Hamburg forward has done well on the club level. Clint Dempsey remains an option, as does Jordan Morris, whose speed could help a bunch against Honduras

“We have a lot of really good talent,” he said.

The forward also addressed the result, saying that the U.S. team was “second best.” He added that Costa Rica were successful in trying to absorb pressure and then hit  on the break to score goals something he admitted that his team has done in the past. He said you have give credit where credit’s due, and Costa Rica deserved credit.

In general, Altidore felt that the result should not be as big a surprise as some might think.

“Whenever anyone says CONCACAF is easy, whatever, it’s not as easy as you think,” the forward said. “You can never let your guard down.”

The result, though, may be a bit shocking considering the fact that this U.S. team had faced Costa Rica just little over a month ago in the Gold Cup, where the scoreline was the opposite.

We played the same exact team,” Altidore said. “We seemed to have no problems then.”

Several weeks, though, made a lot of difference for the two sides. Altidore admitted that, in CONCACAF, you have to keep improving. Obviously now improvement is the aim for the USMNT with three matches left to secure qualification to next summer’s World Cup in Russia.


  1. Was Altidore in this yellow card accumulation situation because his initial yellow occurred when he took his jersey off after scoring a goal?
    When push comes to shove a team player has foresight with what is best for the team.

    I can’t believe Dempsey ever wore the USMNT arm band! His shenanigans are not toughness or the “angry Dempsey” but bush league b.s. wanting the focus on him

  2. I’m sure Pulisic was dumbfounded by the lack of protection he received from the referee and Pulisic still got more calls than most players. I’m not a Jozy fan but my observation is that while he does get the occasional call for him, most of the time he doesn’t, even when warranted. He does flop sometimes and there may be an assumption that a big guy like him shouldn’t go down easily. Conversely, again in my observation, when any member of the other team falls down anywhere near him he will be called for a foul, sometimes warranted and a lot of times not.

    • It reminds me of Shaquille O’Neal playing in the NBA. The ref sees a smaller guy go down and bam, must’ve been the bigger guy fouling him. Costa Rica out hustled the USA plain and simple, and the officiating rhythm went their way.

  3. It’s a “fool me once, fool me twice” situation. Everyone and I mean everyone knows what Concacaf refereeing is like. Players will be hacked (which happened last night), more so if they hold the ball but even if they don’t and there may be no call or inconsistent calls. There will be baiting. If you give up an early lead there will be frustrating time wasting and falling on the ground and rolling around in feigned agony if there is a hint of a touch (sometimes without a touch). I’m sure we’re no angels but eventually shouldn’t experienced players figure it out?

  4. Both Altidore and Dempsey have over 100 caps and should be providing team leadership and setting an example for the younger players. Altidore should have known better than to let himself get baited like that. I think it was against CR that Besler got a yellow when a player fell down when Besler just walked past him. This is SOP for Central American players and Altidore should know that. Stupid, stupid play on the part of both Altidore and Dempsey.


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