Controversial call lingers over Union in loss

Controversial call lingers over Union in loss

September 15, 2013, 2:00 am
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Sebastien Le Toux (left) argues with referee Mark Kadlecik after Keon Daniel's (right) goal was called back in the Union's 1-0 loss to the Dynamo. (USA Today Images)

CHESTER, Pa. -- With a left-footed blast from 40 yards out, Union midfielder Keon Daniel stunned the Houston Dynamo players, fooled goaltender Tally Hall and ended his team’s two-game scoreless drought.

Or so he thought.

The play was recalled by the linesman and head referee Mark Kadlecik. The Union went on to lose Saturday’s match at PPL Park, 1-0 (see story).

“It was a goal,” said Union defender Amobi Okugo, who was called for a violation on the play. “But the ref called it back so I guess it wasn’t.”

As Hall left the crease to play the ball in the 30th minute, he collided gently with Okugo, who was said to have impeded the goalie from an offside position to cause the foul. The play is officially ruled as offsides.

“I think he said I was offsides, then he said I was obstructing the goalie,” Okugo said. “He has to make a decision. If it’s offsides, it’s offsides. If it’s obstruction, it’s obstruction. Keon played a great ball and the goalkeeper misread it. I was the closest guy to him.”

Kadlecik worked to explain the play in detail.

“When the ball was played, the Union player was judged to be offsides, so therefore he was penalized for being offsides on that play,” Kadlecik said. “The offsides player interfered with the keeper. It didn’t matter if it was physical or not. If they're offsides, they are interfering with play.”

Calm and under control during his postgame press conference, Union manager John Hackworth highly disagreed with the harsh call.

“I was told Amobi impeded the goalkeeper from an offsides position,” Hackworth said. “All I can tell you is that I watched it four or five times at halftime. The goalkeeper makes a bad mistake. That’s a 40-yard ball. It’s remarkable, what can you do?

“It’s a cruel game sometimes. We can’t catch a break.”

Though the play didn’t change momentum, it would have registered as one of the Union’s two shots on frame all contest. For a frustrated club that has just one goal in their last five games and are on a five-game winless run, the controversial call set PPL Park into a frenzy.

“It was tough for the fans, they are excited to see a goal and to have it called back in that fashion,” Okugo said. “The refs were indecisive about what it was. The fans come here and they are an experienced, intellectual fan base. They’ll let you know if it’s a bad call or if it’s the right call. We feel gutted for the fans.”