The Costa Rican Football Federation will reportedly follow through with its plans to protest the United States’ 1-0 victory in snowy conditions.
The pitch in Commerce City, Colo., was completely covered in snow by the end of the CONCACAF 2014 World Cup Qualifier, and Reuters’ Simon Evans has reported that Costa Rica will file an official protest to FIFA.
The game was truly a spectacle due to the weather, as the players were often hard to see through the storm and the grounds crew had to shovel furiously throughout the match to keep the field’s boundaries visible.
Clint Dempsey scored the game’s only goal in the 16th minute when Jozy Altidore’s attempt was deflected directly onto his foot in front of an open net.
After the match, the Ticos were furious the match was allowed to carry on through the inclement weather. Evans quotes Costa Rica head coach Jorge Luis Pinto saying, “It was an embarrassment to football, disrespectful to the game.”
What should FIFA do?
The decision over whether to stop the game was left up to the officials’ discretion, and they decided that the weather did not affect the safety of the players at any point during the 90 minutes.
Sunil Gulati, president of the U.S. Soccer Federation, agreed with the decision:
Obviously you worry about the safety of players and being able to see the ball. The referee and the match commissioner made the decision that the game could continue and I think it was the right decision.
However, the Costa Ricans certainly felt the integrity of the game was compromised, with the Reuters report quoting Ticos midfielder Christian Bolanos saying, “You couldn't see the ball ... if we had played without snow, we would have won, I am sure.”
If FIFA does decide to nullify the result of the match, it would be a disappointment to the United States, which was in desperate need of a victory. The Americans lost their first game in the Hexagonal to Honduras and are headed south to face Mexico at Estadio Azteca on Tuesday.
The victory puts the team back on track to earn one of CONCACAF’s three automatic bids to the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. But now, everything is still up in the air for Jurgen Klinsmann’s team.