Following Sunday's Eastern Conference Championship first leg between the Houston Dynamo and D.C. United, referee Ricardo Salazar answered three questions submitted by a local pool reporter in Houston, and all three revolved around perhaps the most controversial call of the postseason so far.
Each question targeted the disputed play in first-half stoppage time between Houston defender Andre Hainault and D.C.'s Raphael Augusto. Replays showed Hainault pulling down Augusto, who was breaking in on goal. No foul was called by Salazar, who didn't have a frontal view of the incident. He explains why:
"I judged this play as two guys coming together and no offense was spotted," Salazar said in his written response. "Based on my angle there was contact by both players and therefore, no offense was identified."
Another facet of the debate surrounding this play is whether or not a yellow or red card would have been warranted had a foul been called. There are those who believe Houston's Luiz Camargo was close enough to the play to rule out a red card for the denial of an obvious goal-scoring opportunity.
Here's what Salazar responded when asked whether a foul by Hainault in that spot would have been punishable by a red card:
"No, based on my position/angle of the play," he wrote in his postgame statement. "It is possible there were other defensive players in the area."