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September 8, 2013
Klinsmann claims yellow cards on Besler, Altidore should not have been handed out

By Michael Lewis Editor

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Upon further review, after watching a replay or two of yellow cards that resulted in one-game suspensions of two regulars, Jurgen Klinsmann concluded on Sunday that the game officials did not get it right.

The U.S. national coach waited a couple of days to talk about what he considered dubious decisions on defender Matt Besler and forward Jozy Altidore in the 3-1 World Cup qualifying loss in Costa Rica Friday night.

Both players will miss Tuesday's qualifier against Mexico here for incurring their second yellow of the CONCACAF hexagonal.

Besler was carded by Mexican referee Marco Rodriguez in the 78th minute for a foul on Costa Rican striker Joel Campbell, while Altidore, a former Red Bulls striker, was slapped with his for pushing a player three minutes into second-half stoppage time.

Klinsmann waited a couple of days before verbally disputing the veracity of the yellow-card offenses by Besler and Altidore. He looked at video of the game in general and the plays specifically about the fouls leading up to the yellows.

"I didn't want to say it right after the game, but two out of the three yellow cards there were not yellow cards," Klinsmann told reporters on the stadium pitch prior to training. "Jozy's little push, you don't give a yellow card for that in the 92nd minute. And the foul on Matt Besler was not a foul, he faked it, Campbell."

All four players who were called up on Saturday were at training at Columbus Crew Stadium -- Club Tijuana midfielder Joe Corona, Houston Dynamo midfielder Brad Davis, San Jose Earthquakes defender Clarence Goodson and Tigres midfielder Jose Torres. All four players arrived on Sunday. Corona and Torres, who flew in from Mexico, went straight to practice from to the stadium for training at around 5 p.m.

Torres played the first 45 minutes of Tigres’ 3-3 home tie with Chivas Saturday night. Corona wound up as an unused sub for Tijuana’s 3-0 win over Veracruz.

"We're fully loaded," Klinsmann said. "All players were already part of that inner circle. They know exactly what we expect, how we want to play. All the things are prepared for Tuesday night, we want to give them a real good fight."

The three yellow carded players serving one-match bans, including defender-midfielder Geoff Cameron (Stoke City, England), were allowed to return to their respective clubs. Altidore performs for Sunderland in England, while Besler plays for Sporting Kansas City (Major League Soccer).

Central midfielder Michael Bradley, who stayed behind to be with the team, suffered a Grade 2 left ankle sprain it was determined, after undergoing tests on Saturday, Klinsmann said. Bradley injured his ankle prior to the game in San Jose Friday.

So, it could have been worse.

"Obviously, he hopefully is back quickly," Klinsmann said. "He won't make it for Tuesday night. It's been a bummer. As we talked about in San Jose, it definitely had its influence in the first 10-15 when we conceded two goals ... and we had to reorganize things. You're suddenly down two-nil and it’s not easy to adjust. It's done. It is that way. Michael will stay with us until Wednesday, which is nice. Having him around is such a positive personalty."

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