KANSAS CITY, Kan. – From the second he blew his whistle and pointed to the penalty spot, Drew Fischer found himself surrounded by angry men in blue shirts – and one in pink, Sporting Kansas City's goalkeeper and captain, Jimmy Nielsen.
And after extricating himself from the knot of players and talking to his assistant, the referee agreed. Fischer waved off the penalty, play continued, and the two sides finished in a 1-1 draw on Sunday at Sporting Park.
“From my angle, during live play, it appeared as though the Sporting Kansas City player had tripped the Houston Dynamo player,” Fischer told a pool reporter from MLSsoccer.com after the match. “From (assistant Kevin) Duliba's angle, it appeared as though the Sporting KC player won the ball and did not foul the Dynamo player.”
That's exactly what happened, Rosell said.
“I knew I touched the ball and not the man,” the Spanish defensive midfielder told reporters. “Also, I said to Davis from Houston, 'I don't touch you, I touch the ball.' 'He said yeah, I know.'”
Television cameras showed Sporting manager Peter Vermes shouting at officials to confer after the initial call. It wasn't a request, he said.
“I wasn’t pleading,” he said in the postmatch news conference. “I wasn’t pleading. I was telling him to. It would have been a major, major mistake, so I’m glad that they got it right.”
The reversal came a week after an incorrect offside call denied Ike Opara a goal in the first half of Sporting's 1-1 away draw to D.C. United. In that case, there was no consultation between officials.
“Thank god that the other guys got involved – the assistant referee on the other side, and I believe the fourth official got involved as well,” Vermes said. “They talked him off the ledge there, because there was absolutely no penalty kick and he was making something up.”
The Professional Referees Organization, the new supervisory group for MLS officials, went over that incident with its members this week but did not unduly emphasize it, Fischer said.
“I would say the emphasis from PRO every week is to get the calls right,” he said. “I don't believe that that messaging changed, this week or previous weeks.”
Steve Brisendine covers Sporting Kansas City for MLSsoccer.com.