Pair of hat tricks leads Costa Rica past Puerto Rico

The Equalizer Staff February 13, 2016 26
Raquel Rodriguez and Karla Villalobos each had a hat trick for Costa Rica. (Getty Images)

Raquel Rodriguez and Karla Villalobos each had a hat trick for Costa Rica. (Getty Images)

Raquel Rodriguez and Karla Villalobos each scored hat tricks as Costa Rica destroyed Puerto Rico, 9-0 on Saturday in CONCACAF Women’s Olympic qualifying.

The victory is Costa Rica’s first of the tournament after losing 5-0 to the United States in Wednesday’s opener. It sets up Costa Rica for what will likely be a play-in game for the second semifinal spot out of Group A.

Rodriguez, the No. 2 overall pick in last month’s NWSL College Draft by Sky Blue FC, finished off her hat trick in second-half stoppage time with the final goal of the game.

Villalobos scored in the first half and then scored twice in three minutes to tally her hat trick by the hour mark.

Captain Shirley Cruz came off the bench in the 60th minute and scored in the 84th minute.

Saturday’s match was the first time that Puerto Rico coach Garabet Avedissian faced the team which he used to coach. Avedissian led Costa Rica to the World Cup for the first time, finishing second in qualifying in October 2014. But three months later, he stepped down to take the job as Puerto Rico’s football director on both the men’s and women’s side, citing family reasons. Amelia Valverde — Avedissian’s former assistant — took over as coach for the World Cup and remains in charge.

Costa Rica will next play Mexico on Monday in search of a berth in the semifinals.

  • Ethan

    The first half of US-Mexico was quite frankly awful. Add in to the poor play the constant throw-ins and Santiago’s ridiculously time-consuming goal kicks, and that half really wasn’t enjoyable football.

    P.S. I have no idea how the ref thought that that half warranted no stoppage time. Then again, she also thought Heath had fouled Ocampo when it was the other way around.

    • x

      You’d think Sauerbrunn’s contact stuff (the on-field part, at least) alone would’ve warranted an extra minute.

    • Kevin

      This ref was horrible. I didn’t have a problem with the ref in the Costa Rica game like some people did, but the ref today was the worst I’ve seen in a loooong time. She got a lot of calls wrong or backwards and that PK was pretty weak.

      You could see a couple of the US players complaining about Mexico wasting time. You can’t blame Mexico at all, but the ref should have warned them to speed up as it was pretty blatant. No stoppage time added when we spent 1-2 minutes for Sauerbrunn to put in her contact on the field. Plenty of missed fouls.

      I saw quite a bit of theatrics from both teams as well trying to get calls. I think this was in large part due to the poor officiating.

      • Ethan

        Oh yeah, the ref wasn’t good; you got that impression from the start of the match with the “ghost” foul called against Heath. However, I didn’t think the PK was weak at all. That was the correct call by the book. Whether you think the rule should change is another debate.

        • Kevin

          It’s not automatically a handball if the ball hits your hand. There’s plenty of handball calls that are let go that are far more egregious than that one in the penalty box.

          • Ethan

            I know that, but her arm was completely outstretched. Why? Your second sentence doesn’t really help your statement that the penalty was a weak call. It just suggests that those plenty of handball calls should not have been let go.

          • Kevin

            Her arm was already out prior to her ball coming that way. She pulled her arm back AND twisted her body away and it glanced off her arm.

            See my message above about “inadvertent” handballs.

          • Kevin

            These are the first 2 results returned from a google search. They both preface the article saying most people don’t understand how the handball rule is supposed to be called…

            http://totalfuteblog.com/2014/05/26/understanding-the-hand-ball-rule/

            THE RULE EVERYONE THINKS THEY UNDERSTAND

            While experts and novices alike agree that the game’s most confusing “rule” is when a player is – and isn’t – offside, the ugly truth is that the greatest confusion surrounds the one rule that everyone thinks they understand: handling the ball, or the hand ball rule.

            FIFA’s 140-page Laws of the Game addresses the “hand ball rule” on Page 36, where it is listed as the 10th and final offense meriting a direct kick (just after spitting on an opponent). And though it references the rule elsewhere, FIFA dedicates only four words (not including a caveat about goalkeepers) to describe what warrants a hand ball violation: “handles the ball deliberately.”

            Simple and straightforward, right? One would think so. But all too often a quarter of that rule – namely one of its four words – is either forgotten or ignored, even by people who really should know better.

            The key word here is “deliberately,”…

          • john

            There are also a file full of memos from FIFA and ref associations about how to interpret/ judge that. Refs aren’t mind readers and hence the whole “natural position ” / ball to hand vs hand to ball consideration. Also , over time the memos have changed the interpretation of that simple four word rule.

          • Kevin

            There’s just no way that in a handball in any interpretation/memo/addendum/etc unless there’s some kind of interpretation saying if it touches the arm no matter what. They didn’t remove inadvertent handballs from the game, especially one that in no way doesn’t give any disadvantage.

            It was a bang-bang play of Morgan’s chest into her arm. The ball barely glanced it and it was going away from goal directly to two Mexico players with no US player in the vicinity.

  • Steglitz49

    Well played, Costa Rica!

  • Ethan

    Very unfortunate for Mexico and lucky for the US, yes. However, I completely disagree with the commentator; that penalty was not a horrible call. Hand in unnatural position in the box, and I don’t think the Mexican player was pulling her arm away. By the letter of the law, how else was the ref supposed to call that?

    • F0OtballNowAndAlways

      Very unfortunate for Mexico but catastrophic for Costa Rica. If U.S. could have scored just one more goal against Mexico, CR would have needed only a draw with Mexico to finish second. But with Mexico losing by only 1 goal, it is Costa Rica that must now win their last group match to finish second, while their opponents can simply waltz into the semi with a draw.

      • Ethan

        Well, the Costa Rican players are hating that right post right now. Probably checking the dimensions to see if it actually should have been placed a few inches to the right.

        • mockmook

          Poor Press. I thought maybe she had finally shaken off her post-itis.

          • Sebastao

            Lloyd scores off her own garbage now, from a bogus foul. Not impressive at all.

    • Kevin

      I agree with the commentators. That was a pretty weak PK call. It didn’t stop a shot or a US advantage. The ball was knocked away from goal and she was clearly turning and pulling away to avoid the handball to me.

      • Guest

        It’s the dodge-ball rule, but it isn’t dodge-ball.

      • Ethan

        What was her arm doing so high up in the first place though? By the rule book, I don’t see what else the ref could have done.

        • Kevin

          It’s not a handball if it’s “inadvertent”.

          It was up high before the ball was hit towards her. If it would have stopped a shot towards goal I think you call that one, but not in that situation.

          http://www.nvasa.org/docs/Rules_Disc/Handling%20Myths.pdf

          If you don’t want to take the link, here’s what it says…

          *** Words in capital letters are in bold ***

          “Hand Ball (or “handling” as it’s now officially known) is commonly misunderstood to be any contact of the ball to hand or arm, or any contact to the hand or arm that provides advantage to the offending team.

          IT IS NEITHER OF THESE.

          Instead, the question of if contact of the ball to the arm or and is a foul is not is one of mere contact, but rather did the player DELIBERATELY make contact (or not avoid contact) with the ball with that area of the body? If the answer is yes (and the player isn’t a goalkeeper in the penalty area), you have a foul; but if the referee believes the answer is no (even if it results in a goal!), then the answer must be no.”

          • Ethan

            Well, I actually didn’t see the Mexican player pulling her arm in. So, I disagreed with the commentators on that point as well. I know it wasn’t really a dangerous position for the US after Morgan’s chest touch, but technically, the hand control could be seen as allowing Mexico to clear the ball better. I will say though that maybe I’m relying on the unnatural position argument too much. I’ve just watched a lot of football where the unnatural argument is brought up all the time, and now, that argument’s been engraved in my head. Maybe too much.

            Anyways though, having your hand lower and closer to your body from the get -go is avoiding contact with the ball. The Mexican player didn’t do that. I know her arm was high up before the ball was hit towards her; I’m wondering why it was high up before the ball came at her. If it was because she was jumping before, she had plenty of time to bring it back down. The penalty in the Costa Rica game was an awful call; this penalty for me was not a poor call.

          • Kevin

            That’s why I mentioned that Morgan knocked the ball away from goal, ie – it wasn’t a shot.

            Typically, when you see the arm in an unnatural position and a penalty is called, it is from a shot towards goal.

          • Kevin

            You see appeals for PK’s for handballs in the box quite frequently, but they aren’t given. Usually, this isn’t because the ref didn’t see the handball as many people think, but because it was inadvertent.

          • Ethan

            I’ve looked at the video again multiple times, and the Mexican player doesn’t pull away to avoid the ball. In fact, her arm gets higher into the air after Morgan touches the ball and before the ball hits her arm. I don’t think she turned away from the ball either. The major motion of her arm comes as a result of the ball hitting her hand, and I’m wondering if the commentators misinterpreted that motion as her pulling away from the ball. I think we’ll just have to agree to disagree here. I do understand why you feel that the penalty was a wrong call though.

  • STT

    If Rodriguez can keep doing that in NWSL, Sky Blue will be happy. However, we thought Nadim could stay on fire in NWSL in 2015 after her stellar cap to 2014, and we know what happened there…

    • Finally a comment that’s actually relevant to this article.

      It’s difficult to tell how any player will do at another level. Plenty of first round draft picks have been busts, but hopefully Rodriguez will pan out for Sky Blue. They have Natasha Kai now, too, so that could either be a good pairing or it could make one of them less effective. Who knows.