OTL reports on U.S. links to match-fixing allegations

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Was this game fixed?

According to a report from Outside the Lines, there’s a possibility that it was one of a number of El Salvadorian national team games influenced by the gambling ring from earlier this week. If true: wow.

Sure, it was a meaningless friendly on a February evening in 2010. But you don’t think about match-fixing tainting games played by the United States national team, do you? You might have to start.

The Outside the Lines investigation — which came together impressively quickly — offers some details into how and why the crime syndicate targeted El Salvadorian players. It also says that in addition to this friendly, an El Salvador-Mexico match in the Gold Cup may have been fixed. Not great all around.

We’ll probably never know the truth behind this game or many of the others. The will to do something about gambling, to clean up the sport, seems limited despite the revelations earlier this week and the ones that will continue to trickle out. All we can do is guess and hope something changes for the better.

As for the match in Tampa, the highlights show the U.S. missing chance after chance after chance in the late stages of the game, then capitalizing on a soft turnover in the 92nd minute to take the victory. Draw your own conclusions.

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[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LIt4tpVBiAo&w=420&h=315%5D

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If you’d like to get even more depressed, go check out Brian Phillip’s excellent column on Grantland.

And a final word from BP:

That was a great closing turn from @bobleyespn and @marcotti, who point out that the bookmakers sponsor and in some cases own soccer clubs. — Brian Phillips (@runofplay)