Referee Chris Penso and the LA Galaxy react to controversial call on Jose Villarreal goal

CARSON, Calif. – The decision of referee Chris Penso to reverse an offside call by assistant referee Jeremy Hanson that negated a goal by Jose Villarreal had Vancouver Whitecaps FC up in arms, but following the match, the referee provided the explanation for his decision.

When asked by StubHub Center pool reporter Scott French about the decision, Penso had this to say:

“The assistant referee called the referee over to determine if [Gyasi Zardes] had touched the ball with his head before [Jose Villarreal] kicked the ball into the goal. The referee deteremined that Zardes had not touched the ball, thus not making Villarreal offside. The goal stands.”

Following the match, Zardes joked that his trademark blonde Mohawk made it easy for the referee to reverse the decision, but Villarreal admitted that he was ready to continue whether or not the goal was allowed or not. 

“I just put it behind me. I honestly thought that I wasn’t outside, so I thought okay and just play on. Then I saw the center referee go to the linesman, and it was a big controversial play, but I’m happy with the goal.”

As for the always quotable Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena, he admits that the play may have changed the game in his team’s favor.

“I thought the goal that they allowed for us was an excellent decision by the officiating crew,” said Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena. “We thought that Gyasi didn’t touch the ball and to be able to communicate that and get it right was, obviously, a big play in the game.”

The play is below…