COMMERCE CITY, Colo. – Following the United States’ 1-0 victory over Costa Rica in a World Cup qualifier at snow-covered Dick’s Sporting Goods Park on Friday night, the visitors were predictably unhappy. And a trip to FIFA to lodge a protest could be in the offing.
“We’ve going to see,” Costa Rica football federation president Eduardo Li told MLSsoccer.com following the match. “We’re going to analyze [our options].”
Conditions during Friday’s qualifier quickly deteriorated after kickoff, with heavy snow blanketing the field and leading to frequent slips and slides from both teams. Several inches of snow piled up as the game went on, even leading to a brief stoppage of play early in the second half to allow snow crews to clear the fields.
Postgame, Costa Rican players were enraged about the quality of the playing conditions and said the game shouldn’t have taken place.
“We were robbed,” Costa Rica midfielder Cristian Bolaños told MLSsoccer.com postgame. “I think the whole world is going to commentate, ‘What is that game?’ The referees that we had today didn’t handle it properly. They cost us three points.”
Li’s and Bolaños’ comments followed an equally scathing press conference from Costa Rica head coach Jorge Luis Pinto, in which he labeled the game an “embarrassment” and said the presiding referees should be suspended.
“I feel embarrassed,” Pinto said in his postgame press conference. “We’re going to ask about it. When you can’t see the lines on the field, the game should automatically be stopped.”
Pinto also said that when he approached referee Joel Aguilar of El Salvador, he refused to speak with him. All in all, the Costa Ricans left Commerce City with a sour taste in their mouths and felt that they had been denied a fair opportunity to compete – and players and coaches alike weren’t shy to express their disappointment.
“They’re not playing conditions for playing soccer on,” goalkeeper Keylor Navas said postgame. “I would love to play in a field where the field was good.”
Chris Bianchi covers the Colorado Rapids for MLSsoccer.com.