HOUSTON – Jermaine Taylor stood flummoxed in the mouth of the Houston Dynamo's goal. He was looking at referee Kevin Stott, who was showing him the red card that would give Sporting Kansas City the chance to equalize a wild game.
Benny Feilhaber stepped up on the ensuing play and converted the spot kick, as the two teams traded late goals in a thrilling 4-4 draw at BBVA Compass Stadium. The Dynamo got a goal minutes later from Raul Rodriguez to reclaim the lead, but Sporting KC got another Feilhaber goal deep into stoppage time.
After the game Taylor was clear that he did not agree with the call.
“It never hit my arm. We watched it in the coach’s office with the coaching staff and it was clear it was not a handball,” Taylor told MLSsoccer.com after the game.
Taylor pled his case, but to no avail. Dynamo captain Brad Davis says he was told by Stott that the ball hit Taylor’s arm.
“It is what it is,” Taylor continued. “I hope when he goes back over that tape for sure he will see he made a huge mistake. It’s clear and they’re going to see it.”
When asked after the game by a pool reporter, Stott confirmed the call by saying, “Yes, the ball made contact with his arm.”
“I’m not interested in the referee, I’m telling you now it hit Jermaine Taylor in the chest,” head coach Owen Coyle said. “There’s no debate about this.”
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While the call was controversial, it was not Houston’s ultimate undoing.
Mistakes and poor decisions plagued the Dynamo as they gave up four goals to Sporting KC. Houston scored four goals of their own and responded to the Taylor red card with Rodriguez's header goal which looked to be a late winner. But they also leaked goals in the last 20 minutes, giving up three and conceding the lead twice.
“To be honest with you, it’s a shocker,” Taylor said. “Most of the goals we’ve conceded were from self-inflicted wounds.”
No player was immune on the night, including Giles Barnes. The Englishman led Houston’s attack and was “unplayable”, according to Coyle, en route to scoring twice. But his outside-the-foot pass across the field in his own defensive third led to Dom Dwyer’s 74th minute goal that pulled the visitors within a goal at 3-2. Barnes also missed on a chance to feed a streaking Beasley on a promising-looking attack in the second half.
“I’ll take the glory and I’ll take the blame for it as well,” Barnes said about the Dwyer goal. “I made a bad decision. I didn’t actually see Dom [Dwyer] creeping on the other side. And to be honest with you I should have probably played it with my left."
“We had the game won … you make a mistake and it puts a lot of pressure on you,” head coach Owen Coyle said. “At the end I think we can learn to manage the game better. It’s a point, but it feels like a defeat. We were the better team tonight, no doubt about it.”
Darrell Lovell covers the Houston Dynamo for MLSsoccer.com.