Sporting K.C. manager Peter Vermes and defender Ike Opara didn’t appreciate the pivotal offsides call that disallowed a possible winning goal against D.C. United, and they made that very obvious.
“Whether he lost concentration, whether he just doesn’t know the rules, there were just a lot of different things where the guy made a big mistake,” Vermes told MLSsoccer.com. “It’s unfortunate, because it’s two points over the course of the season.”
“It was clearly a wrong call and one that cannot be justified,” said Peter Walton, Executive Director of the Professional Referees Organization. “At this early stage, it appears that the assistant loses focus and concentration on a crucial play.”
The referee who made the call didn’t disagree. “I misjudged the play” said assistant referee Matthew Nelson.
That will be no consolation to Opara, who was clearly onsides before blasting home the one-timer. “I scored the goal,” he said. “The whole team is always going to yell for offsides in that instance. But when I looked up, there were maybe two guys who were yelling who were ahead of me, so I thought, ‘There’s no way I am offsides.’ And I look over and he’s holding his flag up.”
He later said he confronted Nelson about it, but it was before either one had seen the replay. After watching it again, he said, “I mean, it’s a mistake. They happen in the game, so we’ll move forward.”
Had the goal counted and Sporting gone on to win, it would have put them just one point behind league leaders New York. As it stands, K.C. sit in second, a point ahead of Houston and Montreal, and are three back of the Red Bulls.