HARRISON, N.J. – The New York Red Bulls know that the game against the Chicago Fire was not lost on the controversial early opener from Harrison Shipp, but that still did not keep them from being plenty upset about the play.
Shipp found the back of the net for the first of his three goals in Chicago's 5-4 win at Red Bull Arena on Saturday on a cross from the left that Mike Magee made a run at from an offside position. The run froze New York goalkeeper Luis Robles and led to the nearside assistant referee lifting up his flag before swiftly putting it back down.
Main match official Kevin Stott allowed the goal to stand, and that infuriated head coach Mike Petke and his protesting players, who shared their dismay with the call when asked about it postgame.
“Do I want to absolutely bury them and get a big fine, or do I smile and say, ‘They have a hard job to do,’” Petke said. “I guess what I'll say is, when I look at the play and the ball trickles across the box and it beats Luis to the far post, my six-year-old son upstairs will tell me, ‘Daddy, he didn’t react to that because somebody was standing right there.’
“Again, they have hard decisions to make, I guess. But to me, if I was hired as a referee, to me I would’ve called it an offside. He chose not to call it an offside, so we live with it.”
Petke added that the explanation he received from the fourth official during the match did not help clear things up.
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“I’ve asked many questions to fourth officials in my short time as a head coach and, to be quite honest with you, 90 percent of the answers I get back I don’t understand,” Petke said. “This happened to be one of them.”
New York’s players were equally as confused by Shipp’s goal not being called back for a passive offside call on Magee, though Designated Players Tim Cahill and Thierry Henry refused to comment on the controversial play.
“I felt like [Magee] was interfering with play,” said Red Bulls forward Bradley Wright-Phillips, who scored his second hat trick of the season on Saturday. “You don’t have to touch it to interfere with play. If I go and stand in front of the ‘keeper for the whole game, I might not touch it, but I’m interfering with play.
“I think he got in Luis’ way and they scored from that. I think they need to take another look at that.”