HOUSTON – Referees have gotten a lot of attention in MLS throughout the past week. After Sunday’s game between the Houston Dynamo and New England Revolution, the attention is sure to increase.
There were two calls in the second half of the Dynamo’s 1-0 win over the Revolution that will come under scrutiny. The second – and higher profile – call came on the game winner from Houston right back Hunter Freeman.
WATCH: FULL MATCH HIGHLIGHTS
On the play, the ball went high into the air after Cam Weaver headed a corner kick from Brad Davis that hit the crossbar and shot upwards. On its way down, Freeman – who had gained position over goalkeeper Matt Reis – appeared to chest the ball into the goal.
However, Freeman admitted the ball unintentionally bounced off his arm and went in.
“The ball just came down and hit me,” Freeman told the Houston Chronicle. “I think it did hit me in the [left] hand, but I didn’t play it with my hand. To be honest, I’m not really sure where it hit me, I just know that it hit me and it went in the goal.”
While Freeman’s tally will get the headlines, the first controversial call may have been more evident.
In the 57th minute, the Dynamo appeared to have scored off another Davis corner kick when Bobby Boswell redirected a shot towards the net. It looked like the ball rolled past 'keeper Reis and into the goal, only to be cleared by Zach Schilawski. Referee Alex Prus allowed play to continue.
“The first [call on Boswell] was over the line,” said Houston midfielder Geoff Cameron after the match. “It was a goal. ... It was just a missed call, but it happens in the game. We kept on pushing forward. We knew it was just a matter of time [before we scored].”
The call that matters most will obviously depend on which side you speak to. For the Dynamo, the calls balanced out on a night where they dominated the run of play and outshot their opponent 26-9. After their offensive performance, Houston are happy to take the result.
“[Freeman’s goal] wasn’t a pretty goal, but it was nothing short of what we deserved,” Houston head coach Dominic Kinnear said after the match.
Cruz suffers leg injury
The Dynamo attack took a hit when Danny Cruz went down Sunday night. The right midfielder gave his typical high energy performance and put in 75 minutes of hard work but left the match after taking a knock. He had to be helped off the field and was replaced by Colin Clark.
“I’m going to get X-rays tomorrow,” Cruz said of his leg injury. “After I shot, I landed on it wrong. Then, when I went to volley it back into play off the corner kick, it just didn’t feel right. I wanted to get off the field and try to get someone on who was feeling good.”
Bruin taking lead
One player who stepped up was striker Will Bruin. The rookie led the team with nine shots, three of those on goal. While the output is good, he talked about not being able to get the club on the board early.
“I had my chances that I didn’t finish,” Bruin said. “I try to keep them on frame, but Reis made some pretty good saves. As a forward, you just have to keep pushing forward and creating chances.”
Darrell Lovell covers the Houston Dynamo for MLSsoccer.com. Follow him on twitter at @Dynamoexaminer.