By NANCY ARMOUR
CHICAGO — The U.S. soccer team will be missing a key figure for the Gold Cup final against Panama on Sunday: their coach.
Jurgen Klinsmann was suspended for one game Friday by CONCACAF’s disciplinary committee, the result of his ejection in the 87th minute of a 3-1 victory over Honduras in the semifinals Wednesday. Klinsmann was dismissed “for showing dissent towards the referee by throwing the ball in a violent manner,” the disciplinary committee found, and said FIFA rules require anyone ejected from a match to be suspended for the following game.
The decision cannot be appealed.
“I don’t think it changes too much,” U.S. captain DaMarcus Beasley said Friday. “It’s always good to have him on the bench, but he’ll give his wisdom before the game … make sure we get off on the right foot. But it’s not going to be the same not seeing his face on the sideline, giving us instructions when we need it and being the enthusiastic person that he is on the bench. Especially, when we score or he needs to tell us something if we need to change something.”
Klinsmann was irate Wednesday after the referee failed to issue cards on a series of hard fouls against the Americans. He could be seen yelling and gesturing angrily in the direction of the referee, and was told to leave the field after he slammed a ball into the ground.
Klinsmann later apologized, saying he acted out of frustration.
“I was talking to the ref as well. There weren’t any cards,” Beasley said. “I got hit three, four times in somewhat the same sequence, and they didn’t call anything but a foul. So I could understand his frustration. I was frustrated.”
The Americans are seeking their fifth Gold Cup title. They also are looking to extend their record 10-game winning streak in all matches.
“This is what he lives and dies for,” Eddie Johnson said. “This is the opportunity that American soccer has been wanting, to have a coach with such experience, who’s played at the highest level and played on big teams and managed big players, to be in this position to help us get to where we’re trying to go in American soccer.”