USMNT fans are fuming at the fact that Abdulrahman Al-Jassim, the referee in charge on Monday against Wales, stole the spotlight from the beautiful game.
Al-Jassim, a local 35-year-old man, made his mark in the match early on by showing USMNT players Sergio Dest and Weston McKennie a yellow card each before the 15-minute mark.
Christian Pulisic had to tell the official to calm down, but Al-Jassim doubled down, cutting the flow of the match several times to reprimand players.
His overbearing style of officiating did not bode well for the spectacle, leaving USMNT fans with a bitter taste.
The penalty call down the stretch that allowed Gareth Bale to score the equalizer was the least of the issues.
Referee doesn’t call it both ways
In fact, the penalty call was fair, but the early yellow cards definitely changed the USMNT’s style of play.
Shortly after those two bookings, Chris Mepham pushed Pulisic to the ground out of frustration.
The referee was seemingly going to show the same judgement as he had in previous fouls, which were actually less violent, but Mepham got away with a warning.
Mepham got a yellow card near the end of the first half, which would have spelled his exit from the game had the official done his job properly.
Who is referee Abdulrahman Al-Jassim?
Al-Jassim is a Qatar-native who has been a FIFA referee since 2013.
He has officiated the CONCACAF Gold Cup and the AFC Asian Cup, among other tournaments.
It’s clear Al-Jassim was out of his depth in the World Cup, where he worried more about putting on a tough face for the cameras than of calling a fair game.
USMNT will take on England on Friday as part of Group B in the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar.