Referees ‘help’ United tie Timbers at home
By Galo Legarda, El Hispanic NewsPortland, OR — The Timbers played with a lot of heart on Saturday night to get a very unjust final score of 1–1 against DC United. The game included a lot of controversy and the final result was influenced by the decisions of the referee.
The first half featured a few scoring opportunities but neither team was lucky enough to score the lead. At the 44th minute, Darlington Nagbe had a shot to goal that bounced off goalkeeper Bill Hamid’s hands and headed toward the goal, but Hamid caught it before it went in.
At the 59th minute, on a very controversial call, DC United was awarded a penalty kick that only the line referee saw. There was a cross from the right wing and David Horst tried to block it by jumping (Horst had his arms open). The ball passed under Horst’s left arm without being deflected and then it got cleared. The referee ordered a goal kick, but the side referee called his attention and signaled the penalty spot. After a lot of arguing the penalty kick was taken by Chris Pontius for the 1-0 lead in favor of DC United.
“We are very unhappy with the call,” interim head coach Gavin Wilkinson said at the post-game press conference.
The referee was once more part of the final result when goalkeeper Hamid was about to take a goal kick on the run, and Franck Songo’o tapped the ball in midair and stole it from the goalie. Songo’o was about to take a shot but the referee stopped the play and gave a free kick to DC United a yellow card to Songo’o.
“Personally I think it was a legal [play],” Songo’o said. “I have seen many other players score goals like that. I have seen a lot of soccer and I have made a lot of goals this way, and I wasn’t interfering. I don’t think it was worth a yellow card, either, but the referee decided to call it that way and I cannot do anything about it.”
At the 79th minute a little bit of justice returned to Jeld-Wen Field with the equalizer by Bright Dike. Nagbe filtered a pass through United’s defense to Steven Smith, who in turn sent in to the top of the six-yard box. Dike turned around, dribbled past a defender, and placed the ball in the back of the net with very little angle to score.
The Timbers tried to score the winning goal and played with a lot of courage but were not able to satisfy their supporters with a victory.
Next up, the Timbers will face their Cascadia Cup rivals, the Seattle Sounders, on Oct. 7 at 6 p.m. at CenturyLink Field.
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