PUEBLA, Mexico – Denied a penalty at one end and conceding a goal seconds later, the 54th minute was decisive for Canada's Under-20 national team in their 4-2 loss to the United States on Tuesday night.
With Canada trailing their southern rivals by two goals in an all-important quarterfinals game in the CONCACAF U-20 Championship, midfielder Samuel Piette had his legs cut out from under him in the penalty area. But after adamant appeals for a foul from Piette and his teammates, the referee waved play on, much to their surprise.
“I was right there and he took one touch and the other guy just hit him on the leg,” midfielder Dylan Carreiro said when asked what he saw of the play. “We all thought it was a penalty. We were all arguing for it but unfortunately, the refs never gave it.”
Had the penalty been awarded and converted, Canada would have been down just a goal with plenty of time still left to look for an equalizer. Things didn't play out that way, however, and the Americans counterattacked to perfection following the no-call. The Canadians may feel hard-done for not being given a penalty kick, but they had only themselves to blame for allowing Jose Villarreal the space to score his second goal of the night.
“I could have had a penalty and then the play goes down to the other side,” said Piette. “They score a goal and there’s nothing more frustrating than this.”
As Piette fell to the turf, Canada head coach Nick Dasovic joined his players in vocally appealing for a penalty but he admitted in his postmatch press conference that from his angle he wasn’t able to see it, he just hoped something would be called.
“As a coach, whenever you see a guy go down in the box and you’re losing, you jump up and start streaming,” said Dasovic. “It might have not been a penalty, it might have. I just jumped up and hoped that we got the PK, but we didn’t.”