I thought Armando Villareal had a pretty good game last night. Well... until the moment when it mattered the most. Up until the disallowed goal that allowed FC Dallas three points instead of one and robbed Sporting Kansas City of a road point, Villareal had been pretty consistent. He gave yellows when fouls stopped counters. He generally let play go all night (whether you like that style or not). And though I thought he missed some calls, he was consistent.
Then the “foul” happened.
Luis Martins sent a hard shot directly at Dallas keeper Jimmy Maurer who spilled the save. Gadi Kinda then gets a flick on the ball and Maurer gets a hand on it, but again fails to catch it. Seeing Kinda is going to walk the ball into the net, Maurer reaches out and grabs him preventing the shot and sending them both tumbling to the grass. It doesn’t matter though because Johnny Russell cleans it up and drives the ball home.
Except, wait! After the play the ref runs into the box and signals a foul against Sporting KC. Then, according to Peter Vermes, the VAR reviewed the call and didn’t feel the need to intervene.
Take a look for yourself.
And from another angle behind the goal.
I think this clip illustrates that Maurer actually initiated the contact by reaching forward, into Kinda. If he doesn't do that it's a clean strike on the rebound pic.twitter.com/v9tyMTcjeI— Carter Augustine (@CarterAugust1ne) October 15, 2020
I think it’s pretty clear it should be a goal. Or at the very least, Maurer should get a red card for denial of an obvious goal scoring opportunity since he plays the man and not the ball and KC should have gotten a PK.
Instead, KC get nothing. We can all admit Sporting rotated heavily and didn’t play well against Dallas. However, Dallas’ goal was a bit lucky too as the ball hit the post and bounced of Melia’s head and in (though bizarrely it’s not shown as an own goal at this time).
How Did the Team Feel About it?
Let’s let Peter go first.
“It’s utterly ridiculous that that’s not a goal. If the ball doesn’t enter the goal, then it should be a penalty for the goalkeeper tackling Gadi Kinda and it would be a red card. It’s a goal or it’s a penalty and a red card for the goalkeeper. The fact that it’s not with VAR and everything else, I can not for the life of me understand how that call could be made. I was told explicitly by the referee that the VAR evaluated (it) and also called it a foul on our guy. I’m sorry, but on this one, there’s no chance. If you’ve watched it yourself, there’s absolutely zero chance. First off, the goalkeeper parries the ball down so the ball is live. Our guy hits it, it goes underneath him and he tackles our player. I don’t understand where you get the idea that our player is (guilty of) an infraction or violation. I have no idea. Sad, very sad – points taken away from us for absolutely no reason. You let the play go. You have VAR. If you’re actually watching it and you look at it and you have any clue about the game, you understand that it’s one of those things that I said. It’s simple, simple as can be.”
Embarrassing!!! After all the work that we as a team did on the field, to deserve the draw, it’s frustrating losing the game with a mistake that could easily be solved by VAR!! Thank you for wasting our hard work just like that!! ♂️ https://t.co/lIoO8VvkNz— Gerso Fernandes (@ge7fe) October 15, 2020
"It's almost as if our @PROreferees organization does not understand the effort that the players, coaching staff, organizations put in place to put a good product on the field." - Tim Melia #SportingKC #FCDvSKC— Shaun Goodwin (@ShaunGoodwinKC) October 15, 2020
What are the Ramifications?
At this point, it’s somewhat of an unknown. Sporting KC are still currently in third place, a point behind the Seattle Sounders and the Portland Timbers (though Seattle has a game in hand). They would be in a tie for first pending tiebreakers (of which goal differential is one).
Beyond that, it’s a very big possibility the standings are going to get thrown into a state of flux with the Colorado Rapids having had a lot of games postponed and now Minnesota United have had two in a row postponed (ironically both against future KC opponents Dallas and the Chicago Fire who went from short rest to full rest just before playing SKC). There is really no time to make up all these games as MLS has confirmed MLS Cup will go forward as planned on December 12th.
The likely solution is the league switches to points per game instead of total points, but nothing has been made official. If you ask our site manager Thad Bell, he’ll tell you to Cancel Colorado. If you sort by points per game today, 10th place Colorado jumps to 5th. The top three remain the same and 4th place LAFC plummet to 7th, which is still a playoff spot with the wacky rules of 2020 (eight Western Conference teams get in and 10 Eastern Conference teams get in).
The biggest way Sporting could be impacted is in the potential shift of home playoff games. The top four teams are guaranteed at least one home game but if they were in the top one or two they could get more (assuming they advance).
This situation somewhat reminds me of the blown PK call (though it was a completely different type of play) against Johnny Russell. PRO later admitted that one was wrong. It didn’t matter last year as KC were pretty bad. And it won’t change anything this year, but at least if you acknowledge your mistakes you can work to improve. If PRO ignores this, then that looks pretty bad on them.