IRENE, South Africa – The goal that wasn’t should have stood, says Bob Bradley.
The US coach has had a chance to look at the tape and he told reporters Saturday that Maurice Edu’s would-be go-ahead strike in the 85th minute of Friday’s 2-2 draw with Slovenia should not have been waved off.
“I think it’s a good goal,” he said from US base camp at Saturday’s press conference. “I think the only thing really that could be called would be penalty kicks for us.”
While Friday’s match should be more memorable for the Americans’ stirring rally from a 2-0 halftime deficit, the water-cooler chat is more about Edu’s waved-off strike that would have given the Americans a victory.
The US were never told by Malian referee Koman Coulibaly why the goal was disallowed for an apparent foul in the box, and FIFA rules do not require a head official to explain himself. Bradley said he accepts that.
“We’re all accustomed to the fact that if it’s an NFL playoff game, and there’s a call in question, there will be a statement by the league from the referees,” he said. “But FIFA operates differently. Soccer is a different game.”
“I think there are some aspects of it that are not made 100 percent clear that seems to add to the discussion about the game. From our end, we get used to that.”
The Slovenia draw, coupled with England and Algeria’s 0-0 draw, leaves the US in second place in Group C with two points and in control of their fate. The US merely need to defeat Algeria in their final group-stage game next Wednesday in order to book their place in the knockout rounds, regardless of what occurs between England and Slovenia.
Bradley said the team is putting Friday’s result behind it with the goal in mind that if they win, they advance.
“The disallowed goal, I end up feeling badly for the team and for our fans because a 3-2 comeback win would be – in that moment, with giving us real chance of then advancing – would be something that’s pretty special for everybody,” he said. “And it didn’t happen that way."
“So we put it behind us. We understand that if we win, we advance. We understand the possibility that we still win our group. So we have moved forward.”
MLSsoccer.com managing editor Jonah Freedman is covering the World Cup from South Africa.