CARSON, Calif. – The LA Galaxy erased a one-goal deficit late on the heels of a pair of Robbie Keane penalty kick goals on Thursday, to seal a 2-1 victory over the Columbus Crew.
But while the Galaxy were jovial after the match, Columbus was left fuming about the calls made by referee Sorin Stoica.
“Unfortunately for us, the referee called [the penalties],” Columbus coach Robert Warzycha told reporters after the match. “From my point of view, it’s difficult to judge. What I can tell you is [Columbus goalkeeper Andy Gruenebaum] said he didn’t initiate contact [on the first penalty], then on the second penalty [Bernardo Anor] said he was just going for the ball. The referee called both of them, and that’s the game, unfortunately.”
The second penalty, which was drawn when Keane was fouled in the box by Anor in the waning moments of the match, drew the most contention postgame for Crew and Galaxy players alike.
But what did members of the LA Galaxy think of the calls? Reporters asked Keane, Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena, and center back Omar Gonzalez about the penalty calls after the match, and all seemed to bring up the second penalty.
Their responses are below…
KEANE: “The second one I’m looking at the ball and someone comes into the back of you. If someone runs into the back of you without you knowing the fact is you’re going to fall over. I didn't see him behind me when I wanted to take the ball down and he just ran into me. When you’re in the penalty box you obviously have to be very careful.”
ARENA: “The second one—we might have been fortunate on. I haven’t seen them on tape. The first one I think Jose was taken down, but I think there wasn’t any of them you could say 100 percent penalty. The Crew is going to feel a little disappointed, for sure.”
GONZALEZ: “Several times this season, I think we’ve played great games but have let up late, or things just don’t go our way. Tonight, maybe the second PK wasn't such a great call, but hey, it went in our favor and I can’t ask for anything more than that. It was a great call by the referee, especially at home, and getting the win for the fans, it was great. It just showed a lot of character, going down 1-0 after dominating the entire game. Showing the character to come back and win the game 2-1 was great.”
What are your thoughts?
Watch the video of the second penalty call below and leave your thoughts in the comments section.