Toronto FC head coach Aron Winter could no longer contain his frustration. Following TFC’s 1-0 loss to FC Dallas on Wednesday night, which was decided by a controversial penalty, Winter blew up at MLS referees.
The incident in question occurred just before halftime, when TFC’s Adrian Cann and Dallas’ George John came together in the box, with John hitting the turf. Although replays were inconclusive, referee Yader Reyes disagreed and pointed to the spot. FCD captain Daniel Hernandez converted the ensuing spot kick, which turned out the be the decisive goal.
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The Toronto bench was furious with the call, and was especially upset that the referee did not look to his assistant on the play, who was much closer to the infraction. Assistant coach Bob de Klerk was shown a red for coming onto the pitch to argue the call.
Following the game, Winter was still steaming.
“What I [saw] is what everybody saw,” he said. “I’m becoming a little bit crazy about all the decisions about the referees, because they are deciding how the game is going to finish. They are going to decide everything and this makes me upset — it wasn’t a penalty.”
Winter said the call was particularly hard to take because it came at the end of a half where Toronto were starting to find themselves. Following the call, the energy seemed to be sucked away from the visitors.
“It’s not fair because you are playing well,” Winter said. “The free kick was not a free kick because [John] slipped because he didn’t have good shoes, and after you give him a penalty like a present.”
While Winter was still fuming, midfielder Jacob Peterson agreed that the penalty call was unjust. However, he took a longer view of Toronto's performance at Pizza Hut Park.
"We've got to come together as a team and be mentally tough enough to overcome that," the sixth-year veteran told GOLTV Canada, "and I didn't think we had enough in the second half there."
The Reds will look to get back on track on Saturday when they host Chicago at BMO Field. Winter will be hoping his club catches a break from the officials, whom he believes have it out for his men.
“It’s not the first game," he said. "Every game we’ve had problems with the ref. Every game. It’s ridiculous, honestly.”