Ex-Sunderland striker Jozy Altidore issues apology for US red card

The Toronto FC front man was shown his marching orders in the 68th-minute of the US national team's 1-1 draw in Switzerland after lashing out at the referee following a booking.

Toronto FC striker Jozy Altidore has issued a public apology for his red card in the US national team’s 1-1 draw with Switzerland on Tuesday night.

Jurgen Klinsmann’s side had taken a 1-0 lead on the stroke of half-time through Brek Shea’s stunning free-kick, before Altidore put them on the back foot in the 68th-minute after being shown his marching orders.

The former Sunderland man was initially called for a hard foul on Switzerland defender Francoise Moubandje but made things worse when he repeatedly swore at referee Luca Banti, who had a yellow card in his hand at the time.

That prompted the Italian official to pocket the card and instead issue a straight red, as the visitors would be forced to play the final 22 minutes with 10 men.

Switzerland took advantage with 10 minutes left, as Valentin Stocker pocked in the equaliser, and, while Klinsmann’s men were able to hold on to a earn a respectable draw, Altidore still had to acknowledge that his moment of madness could have cost them the win.

“I want to apologize to our fans and my teammates,” he said in a statement released by US Soccer. “Emotion got the best of me and I put our team in a tough position. That’s not the type of role model I want to be. All credit to the boys for grinding it out and earning a positive result.”

Head coach Klinsmann also offered his thoughts on his star man’s dismissal following the match in Zurich adding: “I told the players, even at halftime, ‘Guys, you can do probably fouls, you can do certain things, but you can’t joke with an Italian referee.’ It’s unfortunate but it happened and when you get sent off for a verbal comment with an Italian referee, then you get your punishment."

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