Referee Geoff Gamble has now stood as the man in the middle in 11 Major League Soccer matches – and he has awarded nine penalty kicks.
That’s quite a ration. And the one he called on Wednesday in Dallas? Hmmm.
Real Salt Lake fullback Tony Beltran probably nicked the ball with his arm, although it’s tough to say. But was that a place where he gained some advantage? Or was his arm in a place where it shouldn’t have been?
It’s always hard to see these calls made. So much of the pully, pushy and grabby goes on inside penalty area, stuff that truly does prevent goal scoring chances, that it’s hard to feel good about decisions like this one. (Or the handball called early in Wednesday’s big Champions League semifinal, as Bayern Munich’s David Alaba’s slides in to contest Angel di Maria’s shot; it may technically be the correct call but it seems painfully harsh.)
Either way, Real Salt Lake and Dallas split the points in Major League Soccer’s only Round 8 mid-week clash, a result that seems about right for this one.
So Real Salt Lake still hasn’t won in Texas, although a mid-week draw with a home match ahead against struggling Toronto sets up a pretty fair week for Jason Kreis’ club.
Things don’t set up quite as well for Dallas, which travels into Los Angeles for a Saturday contest. Although suspended striker Blas Perez returns to the lineup, another Dallas midfielder went out injured; Carlos Rodriguez suffered a dislocated elbow Wednesday.
Here are last night’s highlights from Texas: