Incidents of apparent biting and nipple-twisting marred the US soccer team’s victory over El Salvador in the CONCACAF Gold Cup quarterfinal in Philadelphia on Wednesday.
US player Jozy Altidore appeared to be bitten by El Salvador defender Henry Romero in the second half of the game, and Romero later seemed to twist the American striker’s nipple.
US defender Omar Gonzalez also appeared to be bitten by Salvadoran midfielder Darwin Ceren late in the game.
US head coach Bruce Arena said after the game that action should have been taken, as referee Drew Fischer missed the incidents.
“There should have been a player sent off in my opinion,” Arena said, according to ESPN FC.
“I didn’t see the play live, so I can’t fault the referee.”
The US claimed the win thanks to goals from Gonzalez on 41 minutes and Eric Lichaj in first-half injury time.
Talk after the game, however, was as much on the actions of the El Salvador players as the result.
“When the guy bit me, I was a bit shocked,” Gonzalez said. “But you just have to move on as quick as possible and look toward the next play,” ESPN FC reported.
“My girl is mad at me,” Altidore said. “She’s mad at me, she’s mad at Romero. She’s like, ‘Only I can bite you; only I can grab your nipples.’”
Veteran US goalkeeper Tim Howard was also unimpressed.
“You can’t go around biting people. That’s crazy. [Nipple twisting], that should be allowed, but the biting, no good,” he said.
World football governing body FIFA has said the issue is a matter for the continental association – the Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football [CONCACAF] – according to the BBC, and added that the organization has been contacted over the incident.
The US now progress to the semifinals in their home tournament, where they will face Costa Rica on Saturday, who defeated Panama 1-0 in their quarterfinal.
Jamaica face Canada and Honduras take on defending champions Mexico in the remaining quarterfinals. The final will be played on July 26 at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, California.