Berhalter: Tim Weah’s ‘silly’ red card cost U.S. in Panama loss


ATLANTA — United States men’s national team coach Gregg Berhalter called Tim Weah‘s costly first-half red card in a 2-1 Copa América defeat to Panama on Thursday a “silly decision,” adding that the forward apologized to his teammates.

Weah was shown a straight red card in the 18th minute after extending his hand and striking Panama defender Roderick Miller in the back of his head in an off-ball incident. Weah was initially shown a yellow card, but it was changed to a red card by center official Iván Barton after video review.

“We talked beforehand about the tendencies of this referee, we knew what he’s capable of and to be honest I think we played right into his hands,” Berhalter told reporters in a news conference. “And we made that decision I think pretty easy. Tim got bumped, he got checked and he reacted. He apologized to the group and I think he understands what a difficult position he put the group in.

“Nonetheless it happened and as a result we lost this game and we’re gonna have to move on and figure out how to win next game.”

Folarin Balogun scored for the USMNT four minutes after Weah’s red card, but Panama’s César Blackman equalized four minutes after that. José Fajardo then scored an 83rd-minute winner for Panama to deal major blow to the United States’ hopes of making it through to the quarterfinals.

“I think we had a good start to the game,” Berhalter added. “We got the goal; it got called back. But the match-changing event is obviously the red card, and it puts us in a tough spot but we expected that from them.

“I can’t fault the effort of the group, especially after going down a man,” Berhalter added. “The guys dug in and we were close to coming out with a point. But it’s a shame, because there was more in this game, and a silly decision by Timmy leaves us short-handed.

“Then you have the whole thing that’s going on with the referee throughout the game, and it leaves us short-handed. So, it led to some strange circumstances for sure.”

Weah’s sending off means he will be suspended for the match with Uruguay, when the U.S. will likely have to win to avoid elimination. And the Juventus player posted his own apology on Instagram after the match, saying he had “let my team and my country down.”

“A moment of frustration led to an irreversible consequence, and for that, I am deeply sorry to my teammates, coaches, family and our fans,” he wrote.

“Moving forward, I am committed to learning from this experience, not allowing an opponent to provoke me, and working to regain the trust and respect of my team and supporters.

“No matter what I will always fight for my team and my country till the day I’m no longer needed or capable to. I sincerely apologize to everyone. My love for this team goes beyond just football and I’m so sad and angry at myself for putting my brothers through what they went through tonight.”

U.S. midfielder Tyler Adams defended Weah’s character after what was only the second red card of his career for club or country. His first came with Lille in 2022.

“You never mean to get a red card, under no circumstances,” Adams told Fox. “He’s not that type of person. He apologized to the team.

“And respect to the rest of the team because they fought for every single ball, every single duel, every single minute. We still created chances after going down to 10 men, so it shows our quality, and all to play for in the last game.”

His red card was the second fastest from the start of the game by a USMNT player over the past 40 years and the earliest in a competitive match in that span.

Jimmy Conrad was sent off 17 minutes into a match against Honduras in a 2010 friendly.

The U.S. was dealt a further blow at half-time, with goalkeeper Matt Turner substituted and replaced by Ethan Horvath after receiving treatment for several minutes in the first half following a collision with Panama’s César Blackman.

Panama’s Adalberto Carrasquilla was also sent off in the 88th minute for a hard foul on Christian Pulisic in a heated finish to the match.

Information from ESPN Stats & Information contributed to this report.


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