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The USMNT Loss Is Good For CONCACAF. Bad Refereeing Is Not

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A shocking loss to Jamaica sure as hell stings, but it could be the best thing for CONCACAF.

Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

Losing sucks.  It sucks bad.  Regardless of where it happens or when it happens, it sucks.  There are no trophies for second place.  It just means you lost last.

Losing sucks.

And for the United States Men's National Team, this loss simply sucks.  There is no way to sugar coat it.  Yes, Brad Guzan handled the ball outside of the penalty box.  Whether it is normally called or not is irrelevant.  He handled the ball outside of the box.  It was the right call.

Losing sucks.

So does running a defensive formation of 4-2-3-1 when you have a prolific scorer in Clint Dempsey on your team.  Put him up top with Aron Johannsson and see what happens.  Talent wise, the USMNT has Jamaica licked.  But Jamaica played with more heart and passion and they were the better team.

Losing sucks.

Just ask Panama who got royally screwed by Mark Geiger in what may go down as one of the more reprehensible performances as a referee.  The Red Card was one thing, but the penalty call to gift Mexico the opportunity to take the game into extra time, was a joke.  Geiger has to be better and for a guy who took charge of games in the 2014 World Cup, this was a disgrace.

This is not a penalty

<blockquote class="twitter-video" lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Here&#39;s the controversial penalty call as Roman Torres is called for handball. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/GoldCup2015?src=hash">#GoldCup2015</a> <a href="http://t.co/4aSShYi9SP">http://t.co/4aSShYi9SP</a></p>&mdash; FOX Soccer (@FOXSoccer) <a href="https://twitter.com/FOXSoccer/status/624051015315140608">July 23, 2015</a></blockquote>

<script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>

So we have a Jamaica vs Mexico final on Sunday for the 2015 Gold Cup.  And this may not be the worst thing in world.  I get the "being bummed out" feeling that the USA lost, but having a larger number of teams in CONCACAF that are competitive is great.  For the longest time it was just Mexico and the United States.  And then came Costa Rica.  And Panama.  And Jamaica.  There are more than just two teams in the region that are solid.

And this benefits soccer as a whole here in the USA.  It is never fun to think that you will just stomp all over your opponent and feel zero resistance.  Imagine if you are a player on one of those teams and realizing there is no hope for you to win a tournament because of the USA, Mexico or Costa Rica.  But Jamaica has shown it is possible.  And this is good.

A stronger region benefits everyone, even the losing side of the USMNT.  It stings now, but it is for the best.

As for the refereeing....CONCACAF has to do something.  The reffing is so poor that the term "getting CONCACAFed" will probably make its way into the dictionary soon.  (Hell, my phone accepts it as a true phrase and does not auto correct it anymore).  There has to be a way to get consistent and quality performances by the yellow team or this region will continue to suffer.  Panama was the better team last night.  And they got screwed by some terrible, and I mean terrible, officiating.

CONCACAF has to be better than this.  Will they learn and improve?  Call me skeptical, but I think not.

The Gold Cup wraps up this weekend as the USA play Panama for third place on Saturday and Jamaica takes on Mexico for the Gold Cup on Sunday.  The winner of the Sunday match plays the United States on October 9 for a place in the 2017 Confederations Cup.