Altidore disputes suspension-triggering yellow card: 'It's pretty disgraceful'

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The forward was not happy with referee John Pitti or Costa Rica's Johan Venegas after being booked late in the U.S. national team's 2-0 loss Friday

HARRISON, N.J. — Jozy Altidore has questioned the suspension-triggering yellow card he received late in the U.S. national team's 2-0 loss to Costa Rica on Friday, calling it a "pretty disgraceful" decision.

Panamanian referee John Pitti booked Altidore in the 80th minute of the World Cup qualifier at Red Bull Arena after an incident involving Costa Rica midfielder Johan Venegas.

The booking occurred after Venegas appeared to catch Altidore with a late challenge, prompting the U.S. striker to confront his opponent during a stoppage in play. Replays showed Altidore then bumping his chest into Venegas, who embellished the contact while falling to the turf.

"Well he kicked out at me after the ball," Altidore said. "I thought it was really soft. I just went up to him, I didn't touch his face, I didn't put my hands up. It's just CONCACAF at the end of the day — stupid things like that happen. It's pretty disgraceful because I didn't put my hands up on him, I didn't do anything, he goes down grabbing something.

Altidore quote

"Tempers are flying and just ridiculous calls like that happen. Nothing happened, there's nothing there."

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The yellow card was Altidore's second of the qualifying cycle, meaning he'll be suspended for the Americans' trip to face Honduras on Tuesday in San Pedro Sula.

It wasn't the only call from Pitti that left the U.S. feeling aggrieved: Altidore also appealed for a penalty after a collision with Costa Rica defender Kendall Waston in the first half, and there were questions of a potential handball by Bryan Ruiz in the buildup to the first of Marco Urena's two strikes.

"Key decisions — that's the game, right?" Altidore said. "Key moments where you have to rely on the referee's judgment. He didn't go our way tonight with some of those calls."

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