Controversy swirls over no-call in first leg of DCU-HOU

Controversy swirls over no-call in first leg of DCU-HOU
November 12, 2012, 11:15 am
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NBC's announcers couldn't believe what they saw, then didn't see just before the half Sunday night as the Black and Red began the first leg of their Eastern Conference Championship series in Houston.

Up 1-0 with seconds left before halftime, United forward Raphael Augusto charged to the net after flicking a ball over Dynamo defender Andre Hainault and midfielder Calen Carr. Augusto's opportunity was quickly cut short, however, when Hainault came shoulder to shoulder and hooked arms with the DCU rookie before falling to the ground.  On the way down, Hainault wrapped his legs around Augusto's for good measure and the two took a tumble that allowed goalkeeper Tally Hall to collect the ball safely.  

No whistle came from referee Ricardo Salazar.

"100 out of 100 times that's a red card," said NBC analyst Kyle Martino during the halftime broadcast.  

"Everybody in the stadium, everybody on our bench, everybody on their bench, everybody at home saw that it's a red card," said DCU head coach Ben Olsen. "It's a take down, it's a red card."

Houston would go on to score three unanswered goals in the second half, placing DCU in a two goal deficit heading into Game 2.  
 
"It should be a red card," United captain Chris Pontius echoed to reporters after the match. "We should be up a man with a free kick at the top of the 18. I don't understand how that's not a red card. That changes everything."

Salazar, however saw things differently.

"Based on my angle there was contact by both players and therefore, no offense was identified," Salazar said in an interview Sunday night.  The head referee went on to explain that he would not have issued a red card because of the other defensive players in the area who nullified a clear goal-scoring opportunity.

Also on hand Sunday night and weighing in on the issue for MLSsoccer.com, general manager of the professional Referees Organization Peter Walton.

"From the angle I saw in the stadium I thought it was a foul," said Walton. "I would've expected a yellow card. Looking at it in real time, I thought the tracking defender [Houston's Luiz Camargo] could have influenced the outcome of that particular play and the benefit of the doubt would go to the defending team in a situation of a denial of a goal scoring opportunity."

Check out the replay below and tell us what you think. Should there have been a whistle? Red card? Would it have changed the game as Pontius said?   

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