Adrian Heath has never had a problem expressing his opinion, with the Minnesota United coach going on memorable rants about his team’s perceived lack of respect last year to a viral soundbyte about Real Salt Lake goalkeeper David Ochoa earlier this season.
"I think the referee was the only one who thought it was [a penalty],” Heath said after the match.
The incident in question came in the 92nd minute with the Loons clinging to a 2-1 lead. An intended pass toward Dajome deflected off Ethan Finlay and into the Loons' 18-yard box. Finley and Dajome chased down the ball, with the two colliding and falling inside the area. Szpala immediately pointed toward the spot.
“I thought [Dajome] threw himself into Ethan and the ref fell for it,” Heath said. “I didn’t think it was a penalty, seeing it live and seeing it after. But as I said, we can talk about it all night, it’s a bad decision but he was poor all evening. We shouldn’t be surprised. It could have been the other way. He could have done it the other way. And by the way, we all have bad nights. I have bad nights, players do and referees have bad nights, tonight he didn’t have a particularly good evening, so we shouldn’t be surprised.”
Finlay, who leveled for the Loons late in the first half, offered this take.
“I’ll give you two points of view. In real time, ball ricochets off my chest, puts [Dajome] in the space. I know that he’s to my right, but I try to take a straight line, cut in towards the ball, knowing that he’s there. I didn’t know if he had the inside shoulder on me necessarily, but I was going to keep my line, essentially. I felt like I did that throughout that moment and I felt like it was more of a lunge by him into me. Obviously, any time you’re running shoulder to shoulder with someone in the box, you’re trying to do it gingerly, if you will. You know that in those moments, refs are looking to make calls, but I don’t know what else a player can do in that situation,” Finlay said.
“Now that I’ve seen it back, I think anywhere else on the field if you ask 99 people out there, 100 people out there, 99 are going to tell you that’s a foul on him probably. I don’t know how you can just throw a leg out in front of a player, from a side angle, and consider that you have the position. I don’t know what else to do. In the moment I have to be a lazy player and not rush back and try to make a play on a ball, which I think is a 50-50. He didn’t touch the ball there. The ball came straight off my chest, he never had possession of that ball. I don’t know."