KANSAS CITY, Kan. – Another week, another sense of being hard done by a no-call.
Toronto FC's manager and players felt they deserved a point out of Sunday's match against Sporting Kansas City, not a 1-0 defeat on halftime sub Brad Davis' 70th-minute goal
In their view – one that referee Baldomero Toledo didn't share – Davis got away with a foul on left back Justin Morrow on the play.
“He fouled me,” Morrow told reporters after the Reds dropped to 1-1-1. “I was between him and the ball. He stuck his legs in between mine, fouled me, and that was it. I asked [Toledo], and he said it wasn't a foul.”
In Sporting's postseason news conference, Davis characterized the contact play as nothing out of the ordinary.
“Dom battled there for us and played the ball,” he said. “To be honest, I don’t think it was a foul. I think we were just battling there, and I got my body in front of him, and I was able to take a touch. I was able to come back on my left foot and place the ball in the corner. It was a good little play there and for me.”
The replay showed both players coming together to compete for Dom Dwyer's pass to the right side of the area, with Davis winning the ball and running to the end line before cutting back across the box for a left-footed finish.
Last week, in a 2-2 draw against New York City FC, referee Alan Kelly acknowledged that NYC's David Villa should have been called for a handball before he scored for a 2-0 lead. On Sunday, TFC captain Michael Bradley called Davis' actions “100 percent a foul for me.”
“The hard part to understand sometimes is that you feel like in certain moments, these guys – the referees – could manage games and make decisions in a way where at the end of it, they're not the main talking point,” Bradley told reporters. “And a play like that, if it's 50-50 in his mind, you call a foul so at the end of the game nobody's even talking about you. Nobody even remembers that play any more.”
What makes the loss harder to take, manager Greg Vanney said, was that his club had been playing solid defense through the match.
“Tonight was the first running goal we’ve given up this season,” Vanney said during TFC's post-match news conference, “and it was sketchy at best. Aside from that, we’ve defended extremely well and very comfortably I might say. That’s what you’ve got to do on the road and I’m pleased with that. I’m very proud of the guys' performance today. They deserved more out of it.”
Still, Bradley said, the loss comes with an upside.
“It's a good lesson for us, just in terms of, again, having to take advantage of chances when we get them, making sure that our concentration and commitment and our hardness stays at the highest level from minute 1 to 90.”