Didn’t watch sports on television last night? Well, you missed quite the throng of non-soccer fans pulling for the United States in soccer. It was pretty fun, actually.
United States escaped with a draw against Mexico.
Somehow, the United States snuck out of el Estadio Azteca with a 0-0 draw in its World Cup qualifier against Mexico yesterday. Somehow. Not really sure how it happened. Mexico dominated possession the entire match, and whiffed on several scoring chances. But two non-calls during the match will dominate the post-match conversation. In the 12th minute, Michael Bradley gave Mexican forward Chicharito a two-handed shove away from the ball in the box, sending him sprawling to the ground. The assistant referee on the far side immediately threw his flag up for a penalty, but the referee (his brother) waved him off and did not award a penalty. Whether or not Chicharito embellished the fall is questionable, but the play could have easily swung in Mexico’s favor and put the United States down early.
Then in the 76th minute, after multiple Mexican scoring chances and desperation clears by the United States back line, Maurice Edu of the United States blatantly took down Javier Aquino with a slide tackle from behind. Aquino had received the ball in the box from the touchline and had positioned himself between the ball and Edu. Edu, realizing that a one-time shot at such close range was likely to end up in the back of the net, lunged and clipped more Aquino than ball. But no call was given, and the United States held on from there to earn only their second point ever on the road against Mexico.
Blake Griffin nailed one of the greatest buzzer-beaters to never happen.
Wait, what? Let me explain. With 5.3 seconds left in regulation, Chris Paul slid by Shawn Marion and hit a floater to put his Clippers up 97-95. Then with 0.6 seconds left, O.J. Mayo drove baseline and tied the game at 97 with a lefty layup, seemingly sending it to overtime. The Clippers, after all, had to go the full length of the court in 0.6 seconds. But Matt Barnes’ full-court chuck was perfectly accurate, and Blake Griffin caught the ball only feet from the basket. Then in one, catching/shooting/redirecting motion towards the rim, Griffin put the ball up towards the hoop…
And it went in! Ah, crap. Offensive foul. Didn’t count. As you can see on the replay, Griffin shoved off. How much, well it’s hard to tell because Dirk did his best to sell the call. But had it counted and Griffin not needed to hurl Dirk back into the paint, well holy sh*t that would have been a cool play. Oh, and the Mavs won in overtime 109-102 and now only trail the Los Angeles Lakers for 8th place in the Western Conference by one game. Wait, when did that happen?
You can check out the crazy finish in its entirety – from Paul to Mayo to Griffin – here: