VANCOUVER, B.C. – You can use a lot of words to describe both of this season's Cascadia Cup matches so far, but boring isn't one of them.
The Vancouver Whitecaps and Seattle Sounders shared the goals and served up a four-goal treat at BC Place on Saturday afternoon. But it wouldn't be a game between Cascadian rivals if there wasn't some controversy as part of the story.
This time it came in the form of an 82nd-minute penalty kick from Gonzalo Pineda that secured Seattle a share of the spoils.
"Very frustrating, if I'm honest," was Vancouver coach Carl Robinson's take on the incident in his post game press conference. "I saw my captain jump for the ball in his penalty box and head the ball away."
Robinson refused to be drawn into too many comments on the incident, but was clearly unhappy at referee Ismail Elfath's decision.
"I can only concentrate on what I can do unfortunately," Robinson continued. "I couldn't do nothing about what's gone on today. I think you all see it today. Twenty-odd thousand see it. As much as I'd like to say certain things, I'll talk about my team and I'll continue to do that."
"It's devastating," DeMerit told reporters after the game. "Not only for myself, but to see guys put in the type of performance that they did. Guys put themselves on the line for 90 minutes and for that to be taken away from us is disappointing.
"As players, all we can do is play hard and play committed and work hard for our teammates, and I thought all of us did that tonight. There needs to be communication from some people, obviously that's not going to be me right now, but there needs to be an open communication to make sure that this continues to get better.”
This is the second straight home game in which DeMerit has been penalized for a similar challenge in his own box, after giving up a penalty against San Jose three weeks ago. The calls now have the veteran defender questioning whether his style of play fits into the current climate in MLS.
"That is the worry. And I'm too old to start changing my game and play less committed than I already do," DeMerit mused to reporters. "You know, it is hard and that's the thing that's really eating me inside, is that if I have to change my game, then I'm going to be in trouble and that's sad.
"I've been around this game for a long time. When you play hard and you play with your heart on your sleeve and get punished for that, again, it's disappointing."