It wasn't just New England's first goal that had Sporting Kansas City's players and manager questioning the officiating in Saturday night's 2-1 away loss to the Revolution. There were the opportunities Sporting thought they deserved from the penalty spot, too.
“We couldn't get C.J. a call for a football tackle,” Vermes told MLSsoccer.com by phone after the first leg of the Eastern Conference Semifinals, which moves to Sporting Park on Wednesday. “That blows me away, and right in front of (referee Ismail Elfath). I just can't understand.”
Center back Aurelien Collin, who scored a crucial goal for the visitors in the 69th minute, also shouted for a penalty in the 17th – again, to no avail. Collin argued that he was grabbed and held up by A.J. Soares while trying to get his head to a deflection near the Revolution's right post.
“We haven't gotten any of those calls all year long, and I guess we're not going to get it now,” Vermes said. “It doesn't change. It just doesn't change.”
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The play that got the most attention, though, was Andy Dorman's 55th-minute goal that put New England up 1-0. Replays appeared to show Dorman barely onside when Sporting 'keeper Jimmy Nielsen saved Diego Fagundez's shot right into Juan Agudelo, with the deflection setting up Dorman for a finish from point-blank range.
“From my point of view, in the goal, it was a clear offside,” Nielsen said. “You guys probably know a bit better. You saw it on TV. That's the way I saw it. Maybe I'm wrong.”
Vermes said he would have to review the video as well, but made it clear in remarks to reporters that he believed Dorman was offside.
“When the shot is taken, all three guys are offside,” he said. “So when the ball comes back out, they can’t get an unfair advantage in that situation. It’s an easy call. Obviously it doesn’t go that way.”
Collin couldn't suppress a wry laugh when asked about the play.
“They scored. Good for them,” he said. “We think there was a lot of offside, two times on the same action. It's like that. But mistakes happen to everybody, especially in MLS. Everybody is a part of the game, so we just have to play with it. It's not an excuse to not win the game. Even if there's a mistake of the referee, we have to win that game.”
Steve Brisendine covers Sporting Kansas City for MLSsoccer.com.