CARSON, Calif. – On the night he tied the Chivas USA all-time record for appearances, goalkeeper Dan Kennedy experienced a first that put his team in a hole they could not dig out of.
The veteran told reporters he was caught off guard by referee Allen Chapman in the 27th minute when he was whistled for delay of game, awarding the Philadelphia Union a free kick inside the penalty box to start a strange sequence that led to the first goal in a 3-0 loss to the Philadelphia Union at StubHub Center. It was a ruling so rare that head coach Wilmer Cabrera said he had never seen called, either.
“It’s tough to think that you have the ball in your possession and, out of nothing, [the Union] get a free kick inside the box,” Kennedy said. “Tough to swallow.”
Kennedy, who was wearing the captain’s armband Saturday night with defender Carlos Bocanegra sidelined with hamstring irritation, appeared to be seeking an outlet when play was halted due to what Chapman ruled was a six-second delay.
“If you see the play, I’m not trying to delay the game,” Kennedy said. “I’m actually trying to get a player to open up. Someone told me [Tony] Lochhead was open, so I turned and threw it. And then [Chapman] makes the call.”
Both sides, according to Cabrera, were told in a pregame meeting involving captains that a warning would be issued if a player purposely wasted time. Kennedy said he could not remember what was discussed before the match given the casual nature of those conversations.
“I don’t have a stopwatch,” Cabrera said. “[Kennedy] catches the ball on a cross and is running to try to throw the ball. It’s the first time I’ve seen that. I’m not going to say it’s a bad or wrong [decision], but it’s the first time. What I said to Dan is that we have to understand that we can’t make one mistake because it could be called against us.”
It was the start of the troubles for Chivas USA, who dropped their fifth straight home game.
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On the free kick that followed Kennedy's mistake, Cristián Maidana’s attempt bounced off the arm of Martin Rivero, drawing a penalty kick, which Conor Casey cashed in for his first of two goals on the night. Maidana delivered the dagger in the 76th minute, with Kennedy – who tied Jonathan Bornstein and Francisco Mendoza for the all-time club record with 123 career appearances – again at the center of controversy trying to fend off Andrew Wenger in front of the net.
“It’s a reaction save what that needs to be, and it certainly disrupted that," said Kennedy, who has yet to record a shutout this season. "I don’t know. I’ll be interested to see that one on tape.”