TEXAS: U.S. national team Coach Juergen Klinsmann might miss the Gold Cup final against Panama after Costa Rican referee Walter Quesada sent him off with three minutes to play during match against Honduras.
His team registered 3-1 Gold Cup victory over Honduras to reach the final.
Whether Klinsmann will be back on the sidelines for Sunday’s final with Panama will be determined by a CONCACAF disciplinary committee, which will review Quesada’s post-match report and issue a ruling by Friday.
But the committee may be examining the wrong man. If anyone’s conduct in the final minutes of the match deserved sanction, it was Quesada’s.
With the U.S. firmly in control of the match, leading 3-1 deep in the second half, the frustrated Hondurans grew more and more physical, repeatedly assaulting — fouling is too gentle a word — Klinsmann’s players from behind without sanction from the officials. As it became obvious that Quesada couldn’t, or wouldn’t, take action to stop the dirty play, Klinsmann began to worry about players being injured in a game that was no longer in doubt.
Klinsmann, already irate, finally snapped when U.S. captain DaMarcus Beasley was mugged from behind right in front of the U.S. bench in the 87th minute. Klinsmann slammed a ball to the turf, then screamed at Quesada, the coach’s face growing red. At that point, the official stopped the match and ordered Klinsmann off the field.
“It was a reaction out of frustration. The fouls started adding up though out the last half-hour. I just kind of overboiled,” LATimes quoted Klinsmann as saying, punctuating his comments with an uncomfortable chuckle.
“Obviously you shouldn’t then kind of throw the ball on the ground. I apologize for that reaction. It wasn’t against the referee. It was just frustration.”
If Klinsmann is ruled ineligible for the final with Panama it would hardly set a precedent. The last time the U.S. and Panama met in a Gold Cup final, in 2005, U.S. Coach Bruce Arena had to watch from the stands after earning a red card in a semifinal victory over — you guessed it — Honduras.
Klinsmann’s players, especially Beasley, lauded their coach for having their back, even if it means he’ll be in the crowd Sunday.
“That would not be good for us,” Donovan said of a possible suspension. “We’re very hopeful that that’s not the case. You never want to see a player or a coach suspended for a final so hopefully whoever reviews that takes that into consideration.
“Sometimes that happens in the game and we’ve all made those sorts of decisions at times so hopefully it doesn’t affect us.”