The scene following RSL’s 1-0 loss at L.A.
Carson, Calif. • Jeff Cassar walked by Scott Pierce and myself underneath StubHub Center, then turned back and said something to the extent of, "Wait until you see what I’m going to do."
Real Salt Lake’s head coach waltzed by to put on the headset and speak to Brian Dunseth and Bill Riley for his standard post-match TV interview. This was about his club’s 1-0 loss to the L.A. Galaxy Saturday night. At the end of the interview, Cassar took out an iPhone and pulled up what appeared to be a screenshot of a boot directly to the face of defender Chris Wingert. It was the 84th minute and Juninho’s cleat came up and caught Wingert in the face inside the box. Cassar was making a point. He thought a penalty should have been awarded.
Inside the locker room, Wingert walked by Pierce and I with a clear mark on-or-above his right eye, a clear indication of where he soccer cleat made connection with his face. The RSL defender was not happy. Can’t really blame him. It’s not every day a guy gets a high kick to the face in the box and isn’t given something in retrospect.
Also in the locker room was Nick Rimando and his swelling left eye. His yellow-card, penalty-kick-producing tackle on Marcelo Sarvas (Rimando stopped it) in the last minute of stoppage time — RSL fans are probably doing jumping jacks that it wasn’t a red card — resulted in Sarvas’ lower leg connecting with Rimando’s face. Afterward, Rimando said the force of the hit actually ruptured his ear drum.
It was an interesting night at StubHub. The nights here usually are.
Cassar didn’t seem all-too-pleased that the Galaxy scored the lone goal of the match while Javier Morales was down in pain in the 20th minute of play. Moreover, Cassar thought the advantage played by Silviu Petrescu should have been whistled for a free kick when RSL was dispossessed soon after.
"It was a referee giving us advantage and then the play breaks down," Cassar said. "I’ll take a free kick 25 yards away from goal any time. Then he doesn’t go back and give the guy a yellow card — it clearly was a yellow card — I don’t know off the top of my head how many times Javi was fouled tonight, but it was a lot of times. And when did they get their first yellow card? Ninety-plus minute. That doesn’t work."
Did the Galaxy breach the unwritten rule of soccer?
"The rule says that they don’t have to stop — they don’t," Cassar added. "That is what it is. The ref gave an advantage at his discretion, he gave an advantage. Maybe it’s not always the right call."