The Professional Referee Organization issued a statement Monday regarding Sunday’s Decision Day matchup, which ended in a 1-0 road victory for Real Salt Lake at Sporting Kansas City.
There was a disputed play in the 90th minute when RSL defender Justen Glad appeared to handle the ball in his own penalty area. A penalty kick wasn’t awarded, and then Damir Kreilach proceeded to net a 95th-minute game-winner to give the visitors three points and the West’s No. 7 spot in the Audi MLS Cup Playoffs.
Kreilach's goal sent the LA Galaxy to eighth place and out of the playoffs, as combined with their 3-3 draw against Minnesota United FC. Meanwhile, Sporting finished in the West's No. 3 spot and missed the conference's Round One bye that eventually went to the Colorado Rapids.
PRO's full statement can be found below:
The Professional Referee Organization today acknowledged an error that occurred in the Sporting Kansas City vs Real Salt Lake game on November 7.
In the 90th minute, a handball offense occurred inside Real Salt Lake’s penalty area; however, the referee did not award a penalty kick in real-time, allowing play to continue.
The video assistant referee (VAR), when checking the play, saw that the ball made contact with Real Salt Lake defender Justen Glad’s right hand, but concluded that the non-awarding of a penalty kick did not reach the threshold of a clear and obvious error, and therefore did not recommend a Video Review to the referee. However, the footage shows clear movement to the ball by the right hand of Glad, in a manner which can reasonably be interpreted as being consistent with a handball offense.
In PRO’s judgement, a Video Review should have been recommended and a penalty kick awarded. PRO considers the decision not to recommend a review to be an error by the VAR.