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Video of the phantom foul that has U.S. defender Matt Besler suspended for Tuesday’s World Cup qualifier

Matt Besler

U.S. national soccer team defender Matt Besler talks with reporters before the start of a practice session Monday, June 17, 2013, in Sandy, Utah. The U.S. will face Honduras on Tuesday, June 18, 2013, for a World Cup qualifier soccer match. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)


COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Matt Besler’s yellow card Friday, his second of the final round of qualifiers, has him suspended for Tuesday’s meeting with Mexico. It was one of three yellow cards that left Jurgen Klinsmann scrambling, adding more players for the match in 36 hours in Columbus, where official qualification for World Cup 2014 is potentially on the table.

Besler and Omar Gonzalez have been the preferred central defensive pairing for the last five World Cup qualifiers.

It won’t be for Tuesday, and all because of the sorry gamesmanship from Costa Rican forward Joel Campbell. Watch the field level highlights from U.S. Soccer (which are always worth checking out, regardless of any opposition sorryness).

Campbell’s action is absolutely disgraceful. The Costa Rican federation should be ashamed (and should do the right thing by suspending Campbell for a game), and the match officials should be feel pretty embarrassed by being hoodwinked this way.

Matt Besler is just out of luck on this one:

U.S. Soccer has no official recourse here. Unfair as it is to Besler, those are the FIFA rules.

Teams (and their federations) may protest booking or ejections only in the case of mistaken identity. That is, if Besler had been handed a yellow card for a foul that Omar Gonzalez had committed – it has happened, where officials make heat-of-the-moment mistakes and issue cards where they don’t belong – then U.S. Soccer would have official recourse.

The action is at the 5:40 mark of the video: