On Saturday night when the Seattle Reign played FC Kansas City, there was an apparent incident between FC Kansas City's Shea Groom and Merritt Mathias. The NWSL Disciplinary Committee reviewed the incident and will take no disciplinary action.
The play took place starting around the 12 minute mark of the game video. FC Kansas City took a free kick and Groom can be seen coming into contact with Reign players while going for the cross. Unfortunately the game video followed the ball and what took place was not caught on that video, even the announcer did not see anything and mistakenly referred to Groom as Desiree Scott. It is unknown if there is other video existing that caught what took place.
The Kansas City Star reported that Mathias pushed Groom's face into the ground and that matches with what a lot of the fans closest to the play observed as well. Fans of course may be a bit biased in their views but it is unlikely that the Star reporter was very biased for the home team.
Groom declined to go into specifics when questioned by reporters after the match. "We both went up for the ball, and I really don't know what happened after that. Obviously it's inappropriate and hopefully they review it. It's not part of the game."
"I somehow find myself in the middle of that," Groom added when asked about finding herself in those situations. "I credit it to the fact that I play hard and am disruptive, and some players don't like it. Obviously, it was a little shocking."
What I saw
I was shooting photographs from the side at the time. I did the same thing as the video camera and followed the ball out and by the time I swung back to the box area, FC Kansas City's Brittany Taylor was confronting Mathias and Groom was visibly very upset. Seattle's Rachel Corsie came in and did her best to steer Mathias away from the confrontation and may have prevented the incident from getting out of hand.
Blues' midfielder Heather O'Reilly also came running in to confront Mathias.This was the most upset and angry I have seen Groom, Taylor or O'Reilly in a match for FC Kansas City.
Later in the match during a hydration break, I asked the AR opposite of the bench side what happened. He responded that Groom had raked (with cleats) Mathias and she had responded by pushing her down. I asked if that was the case did they receive any cards thinking that perhaps I missed that in all the post confrontation discussion. At that point he did not respond any more.
Hard for the Disciplinary Committee to act
It was always going to be hard for the Committee to hand down some form of punishment with so little on video. The only still photos that show anything we cannot publish as they belong to ISI Photos. The best shot they have is here.
It may have been hard for the Disciplinary Committee to act but the referees should have if the incident was as clear as it sounds like. The AR at least saw some some contact, some sort of foul but no in game punishment was taken and with the lack of evidence the Committee could not act post game.