The Week 18 match in Utah between Real Salt Lake and Columbus Crew SC may have finished 1-0 for the home side, but Crew SC head coach Caleb Porter feels the match should have seen a different result, pointing to a first-half incident that he thought should have resulted in a Crew SC penalty kick.
"It should've been 1-1," Porter told media postgame. "It's a PK. And I'm tired of officials not giving us calls ... I don't know how a guy who's officiated three games in the league overrules a VAR that's officiated over 200. It's shocking to me. The game should've been 1-1 and it's a PK. 100 percent."
The play in question saw RSL goalkeeper Nick Rimando challenge Crew SC rookie J.J. Williams on his run into the box in the 13th minute. Williams dribbled the ball past Rimando and then fell to the ground after the two players made contact.
Head referee Victor Rivas did not initially indicate a penalty, but he conducted a Video Review after consultation with VAR Alan Kelly. He upheld his decision following the review.
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"We can't be victims, but I need to stand up for my team and we get no calls. Absolutely no calls," Porter continued. "We haven't gotten any all year, all season. Guaranteed if it's Zlatan Ibrahimovic in the box versus J.J. Williams, a rookie, they're not even looking at it. They're just calling a PK.
"We're going to have our heads up and move on to the next game, but I can't stand for this type of officiating and bias. For me, I'm tired of it. Maybe I need to talk about it more, because there have been a lot of games where we didn't get calls and I didn't complain about it ... So I'm going to be the squeaky wheel and we'll see what happens. But I have to stand up for my guys because that's a PK."
Williams didn't get into the merits of the disputed play and instead expressed his disappointment with his execution.
"There were balls that I wasn't ready for," Williams said about his performance, assigning himself a C- grade. "My team did a great job of giving me chances and putting me in good position to score. And it doesn't matter if it was a PK or not, it should never have gotten to that point. I should've taken a touch and finished.
"I need to score. I need to do my job and I didn't do that tonight."
Williams, the No. 18 overall pick in the 2019 SuperDraft, may have another chance to redeem himself this weekend when Crew SC host the Seattle Sounders (7:30 pm ET | MLS LIVE on ESPN+ in USA; MLS LIVE on DAZN in Canada) with starter Gyasi Zardes still with the US national team for the 2019 Gold Cup final.