FIFA World Cup | Nov 23, 2022

World Cup 2022: Were USA robbed of the win over Wales?

By Harry Bazley

USMNT vs Wales

A social media storm followed the United States vs Wales World Cup match, as fans took to twitter to call out the awful refereeing in Monday's game.

USMNT fans are fuming at the fact that Abdulrahman Al-Jassim, the referee in charge, stole the spotlight as he opened up the game with multiple bookings. Within the first few minutes it was clear that yellow cards would be a regular occurrence throughout the fixture, but it could be said that the harsh rulings were not equally applied to both sides...

USMNT players Sergiño Dest and Weston McKennie were both shown a yellow card each before the 15-minute mark, which were arguably unwarranted.

Al-Jassim was so quick to book players, that even Christian Pulisic had to tell the official to calm down, but the referee doubled down, continuing to halt the flow of the game to reprimand players.

At one point, Wales' Chris Mepham shoved Pulisic down to the ground. Al-Jassim blew the whistle and approached the players - it appeared he was going to give the same judgement that he had for previous free kicks - but to our surprise, Mepham was let off with a simple warning.

Mepham received a yellow card as the first half came to a close, which would have seen him sent off if Al-Jassim had kept his calls consistent. But this was just the start...

How the US weren't awarded a penalty as John Brooks was taken to the ground with a Welsh player draped around his waist, I'll never know. This sort of tackle belongs on the football field, not in a soccer match.

And if that wasn't bad enough, the biggest moment of controversy came just before Wales landed a penalty that saw Gareth Bale even the score.

Now, there are no complaints about the penalty itself, it was clear that Walker Zimmerman went through Bale to get the ball. But where questions arise is just moments earlier, as Wales took a long throw-in which gave Bale possession just before he was taken down.

One of two things may have happened here... Either the ball was picked up before it went out for a throw-in, or it touched the foot of the Welsh player which should have given USA the thrown in.

When you play it frame by frame, it appears to hit the players' foot before he picks up the ball.

It's certainly a close one, and there's even some discrepancies between what the US coach Gregg Berhalter and player Jedi Robinson saw on the field. Here's the whole sequence so you can decide for yourself.

There were a few good takeaways from Monday night - such as Tim Weah scoring the opening goal, midfielder Weston Mckennie playing a solid game and goalkeeper Matt Turner holding a clean sheet minus the penalty. But safe to say, US fans were left with a bitter taste in their mouth after this matchup. It certainly feels like more of a loss than a draw for the USMNT and probably feels like a win for Wales.

The US squad definitely needs to play better if they want to stand a chance against England but with some of the worst refereeing to start a World Cup, it may not be up to them.