Ben Olsen: "I'm not asking him to be a Super Referee"
United jumped out to a strong offensive start to their third match in one week, but despite their efforts D.C. could not get themselves on the board for the tenth time this season, falling 1-0 to Vancouver on Saturday night at RFK Stadium.
After two weeks of benefitting from penalty kicks, DCU found themselves at the wrong end of a highly suspect foul call in the box, which cost them the match.
Bill Hamid's challenge to Matt Watson was whistled down by referee Matthew Foerster after Watson tripped over a sprawling Hamid.
Replays of the challenge showed Hamid getting a piece of the ball before colliding with Watson but despite his teammates' pleas, Foerster awarded Vancouver a PK, which Camilo Sanvezzo converted easily to give the Whitecaps a 1-0 lead just three minutes in to the start of the second half.
"It's a joke," said Olsen. "We get the same clown show every week. They all even out. They all even out. Bull---. They don't even out. Not this year they haven't.
"I'm not asking [Foerster] to be a super ref for me. I'm asking him to make the right call. If Bill Hamid touches the ball and his follow through happens to trip the guy, it's not a PK."
With the lead secured, Vancouver turned things up on offense, forcing a pair of brilliant saves from Hamid in the 64th minute.
Though United registered a season high 22 attempts on goal, including a heroic push from Hamid on two late DCU corners in stoppage time, their offensive bite clearly dropped off as the match wore on through an oppressively humid night.
"I think we're unlucky," said Chris Pontius, who led both sides with seven shots. "The opportunities and soccer has been a lot better lately though our final third has not been clean...we could have put that game away, it could have been 2-0 if we had been a bit cleaner in the final third."
To add insult to injury late in the match, Foerster missed an apparent handball call in Vancouver's box, leaving the Black-and-Red feeling more than slighted.
"I've got a group of men in there that fought their tails off today and they're gutted because I asked them to give me everything this week. I pushed guys to the limit with three games and an Open Cup and they gave it to me. They gave me everything they had and the joker in the middle did not do a good job. He failed those guys. My guys that put their heart out there."
"Tactically it was a great game by us," agreed Hamid. "To have two calls rob these guys, I feel sorry for my teammates to be honest with you. They worked hard enough to get three points out of this one. Even if the PK call was made, the missed handball at the end... I feel sorry for my teammates."
The loss, DCU's 12th of the season, felt like a punch in the gut after the team's recent forward strides in both MLS play and in the Open Cup tournament.
"Unfortunately things aren't going our way," said defender Dejan Jakovic, who was sidelined tonight for the sixth straight MLS match with a groin injury. But I think we're playing really well and you can see that the last couple of games.
"It's a tough break. A really bad call costs us the game. We've just got to keep our heads up."