PORTLAND, Ore. – Portland Timbers head coach John Spencer knew exactly what he wanted to talk about after his team’s first day of training Tuesday following their 1-1 tie over the weekend against San Jose.
“To be honest with you I couldn’t understand why we never got penalty kick right in the dying moments of the game,” Spencer said, referring to a play in the 89th minute that nearly resulted in the winning goal for the Timbers.
Off a Portland breakaway, substitute defender Jeremy Hall made a perfect cross to midfielder Lovel Palmer in the box. Palmer’s shot seemed destined for the back of the net, but it appeared to glance off the arm of San Jose defender Steven Beitashour.
It could have been a penalty kick would have been awarded to Portland. But head referee Hilario Grajeda’s whistle never blew.
“If that player, I think it was Beitashour, if he isn’t standing there, the ball is in the back of the net,” Spencer said. “It hits his arm. He didn’t stick his arm out. His arm is there. The ball hits it. He stopped a goal. I don’t know how the guys missed it.”
After the play, Hall was sent off after his outburst toward the officials. And with a man down, Portland called off the full-force attack in the final minutes of stoppage time.
“That Jeremy Hall gets a red card, I was a little bemused with that,” Spencer said.
Spencer also pointed out several other opportunities in the final minutes that Portland failed to capitalize on, namely a wide-open run by substitute forward Bright Dike.
In the 88th minute, Dike found himself with nothing but open space between him and the goal. But Earthquakes defender Bobby Burling was able to run him down and dispossess the ball with a well-timed tackle.
“I don’t think we played any better than San Jose, and I wouldn’t say that we deserved to get three points,” Spencer said. “But we did have a couple of chances.”