MEXICO CITY – US national team head coach Jurgen Klinsmann was dismissive of claims that Mexico should’ve had two penalties over the course of Tuesday’s 0-0 World Cup qualifying draw in the Estadio Azteca.
“I think [the refereeing] was totally fine,” said Klinsmann in his postmatch press conference. "I think overall [the referee] just really did his job."
The former Germany striker said he didn’t see the 13th-minute, two-handed shove by Michael Bradley on Mexico striker Javier Hernández, which was flagged by the assistant and provoked a furious response from El Tri coach José Manuel “Chepo” de la Torre when head referee Walter López allowed play to continue.
"I don't know if it was a foul on Chicharito. I didn't see that because I was watching the cross there," Klinsmann said. "I'll see that on TV."
In the second half there was a second Mexican shout for PK in the 76th minute when Javier Aquino was apparently felled from behind by US midfielder Maurice Edu inside the area. Or was it a “simple block?”
"There was no other situation when a kind of complaint came in the second half where there was any penalty discussion," Klinsmann said. "Not even because the one they had was a simple block."
Mexico players surrounded the head referee after the match and had to be forcibly restrained by captain Guillermo Ochoa and coach de la Torre.
READ: Klinsmann heaps praise on USMNT for effort vs. Mexico
“The team feels bad and a little hot-headed because we know we can’t do anything,” said Hernández in the mixed zone after the game. “It’s now two games where [decisions] have influenced a little and it hurts.”
For his part, de la Torre wouldn’t give an opinion on the penalty incidents in the postgame press conference, instead asking people to make up their own minds on whether they were correct.
Tom Marshall covers Americans playing in Latin America for MLSsoccer.com. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.