So last night's ejection of Jermaine Jones in stoppage time got me thinking of a disturbing trend among some of the more senior players on the U.S. Men's National Team. Multiple times this year we've seen our guys getting stupid ejections for club and/or country; not for fouls, but for interactions with referees. Here are four instances now:
3/31/15 - Jozy Altidore gets a yellow card for a foul, then curses at the referee and gets sent off against Switzerland. The U.S. had a 1-0 lead at the time of the foul, and after going down a man surrendered the equalizer.
6/17/15 - Already down to nine men following an injury to Obafemi Martins and a second yellow for Brad Evans, Seattle's Michael Azira was sent off in the 113th minute of a 2-1 game in the U.S. Open Cup against Portland. Clint Dempsey then took it upon himself to take the referee's notebook and rip it up whereupon he too was sent off. Seattle went on to lose 3-1.
10/14/15 - Altidore wasn't even in the match against the New York Red Bulls when he received a red card from the bench for "abusing the assistant referee."
10/28/15 - After a non-call on an apparent handball that, had it been called, would have given New England a penalty kick with a chance to equalize in their playoff game against DC United, Jones lost his mind, shoved a referee and sealed the Revs' fate with a stoppage time ejection.
I'm not sure what this says about the current state of the USMNT, but I don't think it's a stretch to say that the lack of composure (and maturity) from three of our veterans could be contributing to our struggles on the field. If our star players can't keep it together when they run up against adversity, how's the rest of the team supposed to look to them when things are getting tough? I know Klinsmann likes physical players with an edge, but I can't imagine that this is what he wants or that it's good for the program.
Here are the video clips if you haven't seen them: