In retrospect, Houston Dynamo's Andre Hainault should've received a red card for taking down D.C. United's Raphael Augusto in the first half of last weekend's Eastern Conference Championship first leg.
That's according to Professional Referee Organization General Manager Peter Walton, who on Wednesday clarified his earlier comments about the incident. Immediately after the incident, Walton told the NBC Sports Network that the foul deserved a yellow card.
But in an article published on Wednesday on PROreferess.com, PRO's official website, Walton said he now believes that Augusto was indeed denied a goal-scoring opportunity and that referee Ricardo Salazar should've shown Hainault a red card.
"In review of that play, my opinion has changed in as much as the defender, which I thought in real time would have influenced the play, clearly was behind the action and therefore the disciplinary sanction should have been a red card for denial of a goal scoring opportunity," he said.
"I made the initial statement on my real-time opinion without having the advantage of a replay," he continued. "Having reviewed the replay, it is clear it ticks all the boxes for a denial of as goal scoring opportunity and a send-off should have been the outcome."
On the play just before halftime, Augusto had half a step on Hainault as he ran into the space behind the Houston defense. The United attacker appeared set to go to goal when Hainault hooked his arm and dragged him down. At the time, United had a 1-0 lead; however, Houston went on to win 3-1, sparked by a goal from Hainault early in the second half.
After the match, Salazar defended his no-call, stating that his perspective obscured the action. "Based on my angle, there was contact by both players, and therefore, no offense was identified."
Most observers disagreed. Pundits, players, and even D.C. United coach Ben Olsen, have said Hainault deserved a red card. Houston coach Dominic Kinnear told MLSsoccer.com's ExtraTime Radio podcast that he "wouldn't have complained one bit" if Hainault had been ejected.
D.C. host Houston at RFK Stadium this coming Sunday (4 pm ET, NBC Sports Network) in the second leg of the series.
HAINAULT NOT CALLED FOR FOUL