Suffice it to say that the Philadelphia Union’s 2-2 draw with the Seattle Sounders was not referee Jorge Gonzalez’s finest hour.
The testier the play, the pettier the call.
A lengthy scuffle inside the box between Lamar Neagle and Sheanon Williams was enough to see them both sent off in the 84th minute. Words were exchanged. Contact was made. Red was shown. But it was shown for something that didn’t even happen. Williams explains (per MLSsoccer.com):
The referee said we both headbutted each other. I never headbutted him. He never headbutted me. When we were walking off, I talked to him and asked him if he thought I headbutted him and he said, ‘No.’ And I said, ‘You know, I didn’t headbutt you,’ and he said, ‘Yeah, you’re right.’ And that was the end of it.
Rookie DeAndre Yedlin joined the red-card festivities six minutes later with a late tackle on Michael Farfan. At the referee’s discretion, we’ll say that was the correct call.
But a missed stoppage-time handball inside the box is inexcusable. Union head coach Jack Hackworth made that abundantly clear in his press conference following the match (per MLSsoccer.com):
Look, I’ll raise my hand and take the fine because it has to be said that we cannot be in this league and have this level of play and have officiating be as bad as that...That should not have been a draw in any way, shape or form...This can’t happen in this league. I’ll get what’s coming to me, but I’ll make a bold statement and say that is not allowed.
Hackworth claims the match "should not have been a draw." Even if the handball was called, there was no guarantee the Union would convert the penalty. That is easier to assume than execute. Just ask Federico Higuain.
That said, the handball must be called. Period.
An enthralling 90 minutes were played Saturday afternoon. But unfortunately, it will not be remembered.
Union midfielder Danny Cruz scored as many goals in a one-minute span as he did all last season. But it's not the storyline heading into Week 11.
That’s going to be the case whenever 22 players take the field and only 19 walk off.