The USA’s 2-0 Gold Cup victory against El Salvador on Wednesday night was marred by somewhat unsavoury tactics from the defeated side.
Bruce Arena’s side progressed to the semi-final courtesy of goals from Omar Gonzalez and Nottingham Forest defender Eric Lichaj but the match has stood out for very different reasons, as a number of biting and nipple-twisting incidents have since come to light.
The main culprit (i.e. the El Salvador player at the centre of everything) was CD Aguila defender Henry Romero who, with around an hour gone and his side already 2-0 down, decided to try a new tactic to bait the USA players into a response, and targeting former Sunderland and Hull City striker Jozy Altidore.
— Jason Foster (@JogaBonitoUSA) July 20, 2017
Altidore was able to make light of the situation as best he could, telling reporters after the game:
“My girl is mad at me. She’s mad at me, she’s mad at Romero. She’s like ‘Only I can bite you, only I can grab your nipples’.”
USA goalkeeper Tim Howard was unhappy with the incident, however, particularly Romero biting Altidore:
“You can’t go around biting people. That’s crazy. [Nipple twisting], that should be allowed, but the biting, no good.”
To show that it was not just Romero at it meanwhile, and that it was not just Altidore being targeted, captain Darwin Ceren appeared to launch teeth first into the back/shoulder of Gonzalez with ten minutes remaining.
It’s not at all clear yet what action will be taken against El Salvador for the incidents, but FIFA have had a dim view of biting in the past.
On this week’s episode of the Mixer Irish Football Podcast we discussed the latest rounds of domestic and European fixtures, and were joined on the line by Galway United captain Colm Horgan.