USA vs. Slovenia 2010 World Cup: Officiating Costs USA the Victory

Geremy GrahamCorrespondent IJune 18, 2010

JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA - JUNE 18:  Michael Bradley of the United States shouts at referee Koman Coulibaly during the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa Group C match between Slovenia and USA at Ellis Park Stadium on June 18, 2010 in Johannesburg, South Africa.  (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

I realize it was Koman Coulibaly's first World Cup match in his career as a referee.

I realize it's not the mark of a good sport to make excuses, or to blame the result of a game on the decision of a referee.

But, really?

Taking a goal away from a team that has come back from 2-0 down that would have won them the game?

When the whole world saw nothing but a spectacular goal? 

That is unacceptable.

Team USA should have won this game against Slovenia. They would have if there had been another referee controlling the match on the field.

The effort and determination Team USA put into the second half comeback is something to cherish forever. However, instead of settling for a 2-2 draw, the USA now feel gutted after having the victory snatched from them by a terrible call.

After Landon Donovan ignited the comeback with a terrific goal and Michael Bradley's electrifying equalizer, Team USA had the belief they were going to win the game.

Once Altidore turned on the jets and forced a foul outside the penalty box, Donovan set up the free kick with the hopes of an entire nation on his shoulders for a comeback victory.

Once he sent the ball inside, this is what I saw.

A perfect ball curled into the box by Landon Donovan, Michael Bradley tackled to the ground, and a clinical finish slotted in the back of the net by Maurice Edu.

If anything, the call should have provided a penalty kick for the USA, or allowed the goal by Edu.

This should be Koman Coulibaly's last World Cup match as the head referee. If he blows another game, say the World Cup final, he could lose more than his job, maybe his head.

Team USA showed how resilient they really are. They provided a monumental comeback from 2-0 down that should have ended in a 3-2 victory.

Let us hope the officiating improves after this disaster that cost the USA what would have been a very decisive victory.