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San Jose calls out Saborio for winning controversial penalty

Published July 24, 2011 5:32 pm

Earthquakes cry foul as one of their defenders is red-carded for foul on RSL forward in the box.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2011, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Sandy • It was without doubt the big moment for Real Salt Lake: Forward Alvaro Saborio's penalty kick, low and to the left corner, opened the game for the team.

San Jose, losing one of its top defenders to a red card on the play, wouldn't play the same for the rest of the match, and the floodgates would open for RSL in a 4-0 win. Although RSL had been pressing for most of the game, and it's possible it might have scored anyway, Saborio's goal in the 63rd minute was a key moment.

But should the penalty kick even have been called? Should the play that changed the game even have been a factor? Earthquakes goalkeeper Jon Busch was pretty certain of what he saw.

"Oh, 100 percent: Didn't touch him," he said. "The guy could've shot before he went down if he wanted to because he cut between two defenders. Neither Bobby [Burling] or Brad [Ring] touched him at all. Whatsoever."

Replays on the play that drew the red card seemed to show that there was minimal contact — maybe even no contact — as Earthquake defender Burling ran past Saborio as he was charging toward the goal. But sure enough, Saborio fell.

The forward defended his conduct on the play, saying he felt Burling touch him on the play.

"If I don't feel [contact], I continue to go for a goal," Saborio said. "It changed a lot because we have one player more, and then we get to keep the ball."

It was a dive that could draw comparisons to the play by Charlie Davies against RSL on June 18. His fall over Chris Wingert drew a penalty kick that tied the game with D.C. United and lost RSL valuable points in the standings. Davies drew a $1,000 fine for the flop.

This time, the penalty call worked out in the team's favor, bringing San Jose a man down and allowing RSL to shove them around for the final part of the game. But coach Jason Kreis said if he determined Saborio's fall was an act, he would talk to him about it.

"I would be a bit of a hypocrite if I look at the film and see that Sabo embellished it and dove," Kreis said." I would be a bit of a hypocrite if I didn't speak to Sabo myself. I was very clear in my admonishment of Charlie Davies on that play. So if it's my player, I think it's my responsibility to speak to him and say I don't like that." —

A closer look at the play

• Forward Alvaro Saborio, pictured, opens scoring with a controversial penalty kick.

• San Jose goalkeeper Jon Busch and defender Bobby Burling say there was no contact on Saborio inside the box.

• The play gives Burling a red card and cripples San Jose's defense, which surrenders three more goals in the game.