After his team ended giving up an early lead to settle with a 1-1 draw against Switzerland Tuesday, United States coach Jurgen Klinsmann says that striker Jozy Altidore getting the red card was an unfortunate turn for them.
“It’s unfortunate but it happened,” Klinsmann said of Altidore’s penalty. “He got sent off for a verbal comment by an Italian referee.”
Altidore was slapped with the red card after arguing with referee Luca Banti, with the striker allegedly cursing banti. “He used some verbal words,” the US’ coach said. “I asked the ref, obviously — I told the players at halftime guys you can probably do fouls, you can do certain things but never joke with an Italian referee.”
Altidore went on to apologize for the incident. “I want to apologize to our fans and my teammates,” Altidore said. “Emotion got the best of me and I put our team in a tough position. That’s not the type of role model I want to be. All credit to the boys for grinding it out and earning a positive result,” his statement read.
The Toronto FC star was earlier given a yellow card for a foul against Switzerland’s Francois Moubandje in the 68th minute.
The Americans took the lead by halftime, thanks to Brek Shea’s free kick. However, the Swiss managed to equalize in the 80th minute with Valentin Stocker streaking past goalkeeper William Yarbrough. The draw means that the US has now been outscored 12-1 during the second half of its matches.
When asked about the results, Klinsmann dismissed the thought of it being a major issue. “It might be a theme, but it’s not a problem because we know the reasons why certain things happen,” he stressed. “Maybe some games we kind of ran out of gas earlier and then made individual mistakes.”