It was the moment that 16-year-old Seattle Sounders phenom Danny Leyva had probably been dreaming of during his academy days.
A highlight-reel goal in his home debut against a Cascadia rival.
That's the scenario that transpired in Week 17 at CenturyLink Field when Leyva lofted an audacious 35-yard chip that floated over the head of three Vancouver Whitecaps defenders guarding the goal line.
Except the moment was short-lived following a Video Review conducted by head referee Alan Kelly, who determined that Sounders forward Justin Dhillon had fouled Whitecaps goalkeeper Zac MacMath, taking him out of the play and allowing for Leyva's opportunity. Here's how Kelly explained his decision to a pool reporter:
In addition to his written answer Kelly told me ‘it never entered my head’ re: sportsmanship pic.twitter.com/cklpIrw4k5— Jeremiah Oshan (@JeremiahOshan) June 30, 2019
Obviously, as you'd expect, both clubs saw the play very differently. The disappointment was obvious for Leyva.
“I just saw the ‘keeper on the ground, so I just said ‘I’m going to chip it' and luckily it went in the net," Leyva said postgame. “I was very happy at the moment. Once I scored, I just ran to the corner and celebrated. I was happy for 30 seconds until he overruled it ... I was really mad, but you have to keep going with the game because the score is still 0-0 and you have to go for the win."
“Obviously, I’ll have to see multiple replays," Sounders head coach Brian Schmetzer said. "I only saw the one that we put up on the scoreboard ... But it didn’t look like a foul to me. Again, I’ve always said this -- referees have a very difficult job … We might agree with them, we might not and we move on. It’s part of pro sports.”
Schmetzer's counterpart, Marc Dos Santos had an alternate view that "if the 'keeper is down, the ref has to stop the game" and that's exactly what MacMath was hoping for.
“I felt it right away,” MacMath said of the contact. “He [Dhillon] kind of kicked through the ball. I don’t think he meant to get me, but he stepped right on my foot. I went down and I thought the referee would’ve called it right away as he saw how much pain I was in. I’m glad that he looked at it [on Video Review] and saw that [Dhillon] stopped me from getting up.”
As the match continued, it seemed destined to end 0-0, only for the Sounders to find a dramatic stoppage-time winner through Kelvin Leerdam which granted them a memorable 1-0 victory.