Offside call denies Canada Gold Cup Final
Hutchinson and Archundia
6/22/2007 12:15:29 AM
CHICAGO (AP-CP) - The celebration for Atiba Hutchinson's game-tying goal was cut short when a linesman's controversial decision turned the mood of the entire Canadian men's soccer team from jubilant to irate.
A disputed offside call nullified Hutchinson's goal as Canada fell 2-1 to the United States in a CONCACAF Gold Cup semifinal Thursday.
The United States will play Mexico, a 1-0 winner over tiny Guadeloupe, in Sunday's final for a berth in the 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup in South Africa.
With Canada pressing for the tying goal in stoppage time, Hutchinson got behind the American defence and beat veteran American goalkeeper Kasey Keller. But a linesman flagged Hutchinson offside, and Mexican referee Benito Archundia waved the goal off.
Replays showed the ball went off U.S. defender Oguchi Onyewu, and that Canadian attackers appeared to be even with the last American defender, meaning the goal should have counted. Canadian players were visibly irate, and they vehemently argued to no avail with Archundia, who seconds later blew the final whistle.
''Their player headed the ball down into the box and our player kicked it in,'' Canada coach Stephen Hart said. ''If one of their players played the ball back, it's a back pass and it cannot be offsides. That's how I saw it.''
Canada forward Dwayne DeRosario agreed.
''It was definitely a goal. No question,'' he said. ''It's very frustrating.''
Onyewu admitted heading the ball, but said he still thought Hutchinson was offside.
''I don't think it matters what I thought,'' he said. ''The call was offsides.''
Canadian players and substitutes complained bitterly after the match. At one point, former Canadian Soccer Association chief operating officer Kevan Pipe - who is running the Chicago venue for CONCACAF - stepped in front of Canadian manager Morgan Quarry as he harangued the officials. Pipe was fired by the CSA last November.
It's not the first time Canada has been at odds with Archundia or members of his officiating staff. The referee called two late fouls against Canada in a World Cup qualifier with Honduras on Sept. 4, 2004. Archundia awarded Honduras a late penalty kick which led to the game-tying goal. Then a potential go-ahead goal by Canadian forward Olivier Occean was negated by a second foul and the game ended 1-1. Canadian defender Mark Watson disputed both calls at the time.
After Frankie Hejduk and Landon Donovan scored to give the U.S. 2-0 lead, the Americans nearly gave their spot in the final away. Canada was not only able to score a goal, its first in seven games against the Americans, but probably deserved another.
Iain Hume put a ball over the crossbar from 25 yards in the 75th minute. He was back to bother Keller a minute later. Dribbling into the box, he turned defender Carlos Bocanegra around and got the ball on his left foot. He took a hard shot to the far corner of the net, and Keller had no chance.
That goal will be little consolation to the Canadians, especially after they thought they tied the game in the final minute of stoppage time on Hutchinson's goal. Still, Canada didn't do itself any favours falling behind by two goals at the half.
''We did things to put ourselves in that position, whether it was a bad call or not,'' Canadian goalie Pat Onstad said. ''We dug ourselves a hole.''
The Americans contend that Archundia's linesman made the correct call.
''I thought he was offsides. But it doesn't matter,'' Keller said. ''The linesman made the call, so it's offsides.''
The Americans can't have been happy with the finish, either. This was the second straight game they gave up a late goal - Panama scored in the 84th minute in the quarter-finals.
And they'll have to play Sunday without Hejduk, who gives them energy and speed.
Hejduk, who turns 33 on Aug. 5, was on the initial U.S. roster for last summer's World Cup in Germany. But the day after the team was announced, he discovered he had torn ligaments in his knee and needed surgery. He still made the trip to Germany, but the closest he got to being on the team was hanging out at the hotel in Hamburg.
He didn't play for the U.S. team again until June 8, against Guatemala. But he's making up for all that lost time.
After struggling to finish several chances - a recurring theme for the Americans lately - Hejduk finally got the offence on track in the 39th minute.
Pablo Mastroeni collected the ball on the right side of the field after a set piece by DaMarcus Beasley. He passed across the field to Donovan, who tapped the ball back to into Hejduk's path at the top of the box.
Michael Bradley, the son of U.S. coach Bob Bradley, would have been in Hejduk's way, but the youngster dropped to the ground and Hejduk took a solid shot with his right foot. The ball hit the left post and caromed into the goal past a diving Onstad.
''Frankie's played well in this tournament,'' the elder Bradley said. ''When you have him on your team, you've got a great competitor. He pushes all the players around him.''
Hejduk will miss the final after picking up his second yellow card in as many games. Bradley, also will sit out the final after getting a red card in the 89th minute for a reckless tackle.
With 33 goals, Donovan moved within one of Eric Wynalda's U.S. career record. Kasey Keller played his 100th international game, matching Tony Meola's American mark for goalkeepers.
It was the 32-year-old Hejduk's first goal since June 11, 2000, against Mexico, and it sent him on a mad dash across the field. He slapped hands with coach Bob Bradley and the players on the bench, pumping his fists as the rests of his teammates mobbed him.
Seven minutes later, the Americans were celebrating again.
Onstad, who was starting because No. 1 goalie Greg Sutton is still feeling the effects of a concussion, tripped up Beasley on a breakaway in front of the goal. He was given a yellow card, and the referees awarded the Americans a penalty kick.
Donovan connected on a perfect shot, nestling the ball behind a diving Onstad. The team ran over to Beasley, who was still being attended to on the sideline.
Canada hasn't beaten the United States since 1985, a run of futility that stretched to 13 matches with Thursday night's loss.
Notes: Phoenix Suns star Steve Nash, brother of Canadian MF Martin Nash, was at the game. ... Donovan, Bocanegra and Jonathan Bornstein also picked up yellow cards.