In the end, referee Jorge Gonzalez probably got it right, overturning his own choice to award Montreal a penalty kick in the first half of the Impact’s loss Saturday to Vancouver. And getting it right should always be the bottom line.
Still, the timing of it all was awkward. The fuss was all about a Montreal Impact shot blocked on the goal line by Vancouver’s Jun Marques Davidson. A successful PK would in have leveled the match at 1-1 in the 38th minute.
Gonzalez awarded the shot, attempted to sort out the players (as per standard operating procedure) … but then consulted with his fourth official or the nearby assistant and reversed his choice after perhaps 30 seconds.
Davidson did appear to get more “front shoulder” than “arm,” although we are arguing about inches here.
Either way, Montreal manager Marco Schallibaum (pictured), who surely has already set some sort of unofficial record for league suspensions, blew his Swiss top over the whole thing. From the MLSSoccer.com account, here is what Schallibaum, speaking in French, told reporters at Stade Saputo after Saturdays’ loss:
To me, it’s a scandal. It’s a scandal, because he makes a decision and then, all of a sudden, it isn’t a penalty. It changed the game.
“For us, psychologically, the decision was nonsense. As a referee, you have to make decisions. You make a decision, and then it’s gone.
“There was influence from players, coaches and the fourth official. If he allows himself to be influenced, then maybe I should do the same next time around.
“[The fourth official] can’t influence a crucial decision like that. They go home, and we’ve got all that up our [expletive]. The guys in yellow have to take their responsibilities. We take our responsibilities every day. We got slapped around today because of that, and because we weren’t so good in the first half.”
Remember, this is a coach who has copped to being too rambunctious along the sidelines, having been suspended five times already by MLS this year for his fits — and having been spoken to by management about it. Apparently, it didn’t take.
The incident is at the 2:30 mark of the full match video package below.
It is significant to note that the replay, apparently, was not shown inside the stadium. So any assistance from the fourth official was coming from a set of eyes stationed much further away than Gonzalez, and without benefit of a replay (which are not allowed).