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World soccer: Costa Rican curse, Belgium vs. USA, Sepp Blatter's fancy

Published: Tuesday, Sept. 1 2015 10:43 a.m. MDT

In his first public speech in Mauritius on Wednesday at the Asian Football Confederation's regional congress, Blatter called Australian candidate Moya Dodd "a good candidate and a good-looking candidate." (MoyaDoddFootball.com) In his first public speech in Mauritius on Wednesday at the Asian Football Confederation's regional congress, Blatter called Australian candidate Moya Dodd "a good candidate and a good-looking candidate." (MoyaDoddFootball.com)

Interview with LDS real estate investor David Patey who controls Club Sport Herediano.

The curse of the touched trophy

Curses are commonplace in American sports. From the curse of the Bambino that plagued the Red Sox for more than 80 years to the belief that NHL conference champions should not touch the Stanley Cup or conference championship trophies before winning the NHL title, sports fans often find superstition at fault when their teams perform poorly.

Superstition and sport curses are not strictly American, however. Seventy-three years have passed since Costa Rica's oldest soccer team, Club Sport Cartagines, has won a championship, and legend has it they're cursed.

The legend of the Cartagines curse added another chapter last week. Club Sport Herediano, controlled by LDS real estate investor David Patey of Provo, Utah, won the Costa Rican championship following a dramatic 5-4 penalty kick shootout win. The feat was all the more impressive considering that Herediano was down 3-1 going into the second leg of the two-leg final.

In his first public speech in Mauritius on Wednesday at the Asian Football Confederation's regional congress, Blatter called Australian candidate Moya Dodd "a good candidate and a good-looking candidate." (MoyaDoddFootball.com) In his first public speech in Mauritius on Wednesday at the Asian Football Confederation's regional congress, Blatter called Australian candidate Moya Dodd "a good candidate and a good-looking candidate." (MoyaDoddFootball.com)

What's behind the curse? Some say a priest from the Basilica de Los Angeles cursed the team when the 1940 championship team stormed the Basilica riding horses. Others say a voodoo doll supposedly buried under the stadium turf has stifled Cartagines.

Still, more say this time around failure came because Cartagines' president touched the trophy.

"I was at a presentation of the trophies for the champion and the subchampion," Patey said. "Obviously I was a little concerned about the score and what that meant for us going forward.

"One of the local reporters said to me, 'Hey, don't touch the trophy.' I asked why, and he said, 'It's bad luck. Don't touch it.'"

Patey didn't touch the trophy, but the Cartagines president, Jorge Ortega Lizano, did.

Yendrick Ruiz, on knees, of C.S. Herediano celebrates seconds have his team defeated Real Salt Lake during their CONCACAF match up at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy, Ut.,Tuesday, Oct. 23, 2012. (Brian Nicholson, Deseret News) Yendrick Ruiz, on knees, of C.S. Herediano celebrates seconds have his team defeated Real Salt Lake during their CONCACAF match up at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy, Ut.,Tuesday, Oct. 23, 2012. (Brian Nicholson, Deseret News)

"I could see the look on the press's face," Patey said. "They were surprised that he did that. For the next few days, the story was 'He who touches it loses it.'"

And unfortunately for them, Cartagines lost it.

USA vs. Belgium match preview

The United States men's national soccer team will play an international friendly tonight vs. Belgium in Cleveland, Ohio.

Belgium is leading its World Cup qualifying group with a very impressive 5-0-1 record. The last time the USA and Belgium played — the third appearance of Klinnsman as the USA head coach — Belgium came away with a 1-0 victory.

With stars like Manchester City's Vincent Kompany, Aston Villa's Christian Benteke and Chelsea's Eden Hazard, Belgium will be a stiff test for the USA.

El Diario Extra, a Costa Rican newspaper, portrays David Patey, owner of Club Sport Herediano hoisting the national championship trophy following a 5-4 penalty kick victory. (Courtesy of David Patey) El Diario Extra, a Costa Rican newspaper, portrays David Patey, owner of Club Sport Herediano hoisting the national championship trophy following a 5-4 penalty kick victory. (Courtesy of David Patey)

"We hope for big support," Klinnsman said in this morning's press conference. "Having Belgium in that stage helps us to get a couple of answers in terms of where the players are right now. We have a good group together already. I feel confident to show the people an exciting match, which gives the players opportunities to prove themselves."

Notably, USA international Sacha Kljestan is one of two players that have already been publicly named as starters for tonight's match. Kljestan stars for Anderlecht, reigning two-time Belgian Pro League champion, but he hasn't maintained a significant role on the USA men's team. Tonight is an opportunity for him to stake a claim to a roster spot when the match matters.

With key World Cup qualifying games on the horizon, the June 18 showdown at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy, Utah, tonight's match as well as Sunday's friendly against Germany will all serve as an important measuring stick for Klinnsman as he decides who will take the field in the "hex" later this summer.

FILE - In this June 8, 2012 file photo, United States defender Carlos Bocanegra (3) is shown during a FIFA World Cup qualifying game against Antigua and Barbuda in Tampa, Fla. U.S. captain Carlos Bocanegra has been dropped from the roster for World Cup qualifiers against Costa Rica and Mexico. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara, File) (Chris O'Meara, AP) FILE - In this June 8, 2012 file photo, United States defender Carlos Bocanegra (3) is shown during a FIFA World Cup qualifying game against Antigua and Barbuda in Tampa, Fla. U.S. captain Carlos Bocanegra has been dropped from the roster for World Cup qualifiers against Costa Rica and Mexico. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara, File) (Chris O'Meara, AP)

The game will be televised on ESPN at 6 p.m. MDT.

Sepp Blatter praises female FIFA candidate's looks

PORT LOUIS, Mauritius — With world soccer leaders under pressure to make concrete progress in reform, FIFA President Sepp Blatter praised the looks of one of the four women vying to become the body's first permanent female executive committee member.

In his first public speech in Mauritius on Wednesday at the Asian Football Confederation's regional congress, Blatter called Australian candidate Moya Dodd "a good candidate and a good-looking candidate."

He added he preferred the term "lady" to female when referring to the new position.

"I can tell you she's good. She's very good. So good luck," Blatter said of Dodd, a former Australia international who is now a lawyer and an AFC vice president.

Dodd said she was not offended by Blatter's view of her.

"I was more focused on his earlier comments that I was a good candidate, a very good candidate," Dodd said. "Knowing him as I do, I certainly took no offense."

The decision to make a permanent position for a female executive committee member was made as part of a plan to improve its tarnished image following wide allegations of corruption in soccer's governing body.

Gerald Imray of the Associated Press contributed to this report. Follow him on Twitter:@GeraldImrayAP

Landon Hemsley is the sports content manager for DeseretNews.com. Email: lhemsley@deseretnews.com. Twitter: @EarlOfHemsley

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