Should Sporting Kansas City have been, well, more sporting on Saturday night?
That's the question that the Columbus Crew were left pondering after their 3-2 loss at Sporting Park.
Former Crew forward Kei Kamara's second goal of the match in the 80th minute proved the game-winner and it came as Crew midfielder Bernardo Anor lay in the opposite penalty area with a leg cramp.
Sporting (7-5-5, 26 points) took advantage and went downfield to score after a clearance by Crew defender Tyson Wahl fell to SKC forward Claudio Bieler, who sent a header to an unmarked Kamara.
"It's one of those things I'd like to have seen them kick the ball out," Crew goalkeeper Andy Gruenebaum told MLSsoccer.com by phone. "Obviously, that would have been ideal. It's not the first time a team has done that and probably not the last."
Anor had to leave the game after Kamara's game-winner with cramps, just as Crew forward Dominic Oduro did in the 76th minute. Both are expected to be available when the Crew play at Los Angeles on Thursday.
"[SKC] was probably thinking we had a few guys [go down] already in the second half and they're pushing for that goal," Gruenebaum said. "It is what it is. We can still deal with it better with a man down. It's tough."
When Crew coach Robert Warzycha was asked if Sporting should have stopped play for Anor, he replied: "Absolutely."
He also was upset that play continued in the first half when defender Chad Marshall went down temporarily.
"The referee didn’t stop the play for a head injury," he said to MLSsoccer.com by phone. "At some point you hope a player would knock the ball out of bounds. You have a player with a history of concussions go down. The play should have been stopped."
Still, Warzycha was more disappointed in his team's defense that spoiled a second-half rally that saw the Crew twice overcome a deficit thanks to goals by Dominic Oduro and Jairo Arrieta, who leaves Sunday to play for Costa Rica in the CONCACAF Gold Cup.
The Crew reach the halfway point with a 5-7-5 record. Their 20 points are well behind pace of the 52 they had last season when then they missed the Eastern Conference playoffs by a point.
Craig Merz covers the Columbus Crew for MLSsoccer.com.