The U.S. battled and scrapped its way to a 2-0 win over El Salvador in Wednesday's Gold Cup quarterfinal, a game in which neither side looked at its best.
Bruce Arena's side was wobbly in defense and a little rattled up front but did enough to grab the victory. It wasn't easy, mind you, especially when El Salvador's Henry Romero was pulling every dirty trick on Jozy Altidore.
One incident midway through the second half saw Romero appear to twist Altidore's nipple before a set piece was hoofed into the box. Moments later, Romero followed up with what seemed to be a bite to Altidore's shoulder, which drew the temporary ire of the Toronto FC striker.
Luckily, both Altidore and U.S. teammate Tim Howard could see the amusing side after the match:
Altidore: "My girl is mad at me. She's mad at me, she's mad at Romero. She's like 'Only I can bite u, only I can grab your nipples.' #usmnt
— Steven Goff (@SoccerInsider) July 20, 2017
Tim Howard: "You can't go around biting people. That's crazy. [Nipple twisting], that should be allowed, but the biting, no good." #usmnt
— Jeff Carlisle (@JeffreyCarlisle) July 20, 2017
It's somewhat of a relief that a chippy, often ill-tempered game can end with an appropriately light and witty response. Here's hoping the only open mouths at Saturday's semifinal vs. Costa Rica belong to the fans in awe of the final score.