Australian soccer referee Jacqui Melksham was one minute and a spectacular goal from becoming one of the most notorious sporting officials in U.S. soccer history. Melksham made a series of controversial calls in the U.S.-Brazil World Cup quarterfinal game, most of which went against the U.S. She was bailed out after the U.S. came back to win 5-3 on penalty kicks.
In the 65th minute, Melksham gave Rachel Buehler a red card for taking down Marta. The send off put the U.S. a woman down for almost half the match. Then on the penalty kick, Hope Solo stoned Cristiane. The problem is Melksham decided there was encroachment before the kick, so she gave Brazil a second shot (watch video of the sequence). Marta converted on the second chance to tie the game. But that wasn’t all.
Melksham (and all the refs) missed that Maurine was offside on Marta’s second goal that made it 2-1. And as Grant Wahl points out, she missed a second hand ball by Carli Lloyd that should have gone against the U.S.
Melksham was atrocious in this match. Given the poor reputation FIFA has amassed for match fixing scandals, bribery, lack of instant replay, and missed calls, have a bad ref shouldn’t come as a surprise. She is just extremely ucky that the U.S. won otherwise she’d be notorious.Google+