Clint Dempsey blasts referee's call
U.S. team captain Clint Dempsey complained about the officiating during Wednesday night's friendly with Mexico in Glendale, Ariz., but said he thought the 2-2 draw gave coach Jurgen Klinsmann a good chance to look at his roster options.
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"At the end of the day I thought that we deserved that third goal," Dempsey said about the shot from second-half substitute Eddie Johnson that was ruled offside and nullified in the 85th minute. "You know if you look back at the tape it looks like Eddie’s onside so I think 3-2 would have been a fair result, but 2-2 is fine."
"It is not a World Cup qualifying game, but you still want to win against your rivals," said Dempsey. "But it is a good preparation for both teams in figuring out who they want to bring to their camps."
Klinsmann agreed with Dempsey.
"I think the referee made a mistake in not giving us that third goal," Klinsmann said. "There was no offsides, and I think there was a clear penalty against Green, that he didn’t call."
Mexico turned a dreadful first half into a tight game following captain Rafael Marquez's 49th-minute goal. Mexico became more active on the attack and threatened to tie on almost every run in the second half.
"We had to be more aggressive on the pitch because our adversary was being very aggressive," El Tri coach Miguel Herrera told ESPN Deportes about the second-half surge. "I told (the players) what they needed to do. I told them we had to hit hard because they were hitting hard. I told them in a very direct fashion and, of course, at the top of my lungs."
The tying goal came in the 67th minute. Alan Pulido collected the rebound of Paul Aguilar's shot that hit the post and kicked the ball into an exposed net.
"The first 15-20 minutes in the second half we didn’t pick up the rhythm right away," Klinsmann said. "We made some positioning mistakes and they come back into the game and then it’s difficult because then they really go on a high end. You know they get all their confidence back and it’s funny, but then even when we concede the second goal I had the feeling we were going to turn this thing around again because they (Mexico) calmed down and they started to play that game again and we got some fresh legs in there.
"I was sure we were going to win this game and that’s how it went actually, the last 20 minutes, it was all us," Klinsmann said. "And then, obviously you need a little of the right ref’s decision with a clear penalty not given."