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Ejected in the second half against Brazil, US midfielder Sacha Kljestan questioned the referee’s decision.

PRETORIA, South Africa –Getting a result against Brazil is always a difficult proposition. Going down two goals makes it even harder. But receiving a red card in the 57th minute makes it near impossible.

US midfielder Sacha Kljestan must have known when Swiss referee Massimo Busacca flashed him a red card in the US’s 3-0 loss to Brazil in the second game of the Confederations Cup. His teammates certainly did.

The dismissal came in the 57th minute, when Kljestan’s ill-advised lunge brought down Brazil’s Ramires. Busacca originally let play continue, but after a stoppage, he was informed by the fourth official that Kljestan deserved the straight red.

After the game, the Chivas USA midfielder was morose, his head hung low, as he answered questions about the pivotal decision.

“I don’t know if it’s a red or not, but I’m devastated that I let my team down today,” he said. “[The card] surprised me because the game played on. We must have played a few minutes before he pulled the red. Someone must have talked in his ear. But that’s the way the game goes, you know?”

By the time the ejection came, the US was already down 2-nil and out of the game, for all intents and purposes. Kljestan, who provided a spark as a second-half sub in the Italy loss on Monday, got the starting nod against Brazil due to Ricardo Clark’s suspension, but he failed to make much impact on the field. He was most unimpressed with the US’s start.

“I think the game started out slow for us,” he said. “We didn’t play quick enough. We didn’t pressure quick enough and obviously they got a couple of set pieces early and punished us. It was a tough start.”

And a tougher end, as the US fell 3-0 and now sit firmly at the bottom of Group B with zero points. However, mathematically, they still have a chance to advance following Egypt’s upset of Italy.

Greg Lalas,
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