Heaps: “5 Out of 6 Games Determined by Referee Error”
- Updated: April 9, 2016
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – For the fifth time in six games this season, the New England Revolution failed to take three points.
For the fifth time in six games this season, Revolution head coach Jay Heaps wasn’t happy with the referees.
“Frustrated, disappointed, disheartened,” said Heaps after the Revolution blew an early 1-0 lead and were forced to settle for a 1-1 draw with Toronto FC at Gillette Stadium in the late afternoon on Saturday. “When you have five out of six games determined by referee error, it’s becoming… it’s disappointing.”
One of the major talking points of the match was Toronto FC’s equalizer due to two controversial calls or non-calls leading up to the play. First, Gershon Koffie was taken down by a reckless sliding challenge from Justin Morrow and play was allowed to continue.
“If you look at it by what the replay showed it should’ve been a red card originally,” said Heaps. “I think that they’re going to go back and that’s what Felipe got, that’s what Gershon got [in previous weeks], that’s what they’re calling.”
Instead of handing out a red card, referee Edvin Jurisevic played the advantage on the Morrow challenge—he’d later go back to give Morrow a yellow card—and Lee Nguyen played Teal Bunbury in the box. Bunbury turned to shoot, but went down under a challenge from Drew Moor.
“He kicks [Bunbury] and you can hear it from the bench,” said Heaps. “The fact that four [referees] didn’t see it is… it’s sad.”
As the Revolution argued for a penalty, Toronto sprung a quick counterattack with a long ball from Will Johnson springing Jozy Altidore behind the defense. Altidore eventually set up Sebastian Giovinco, whose deflected shot off Jose Goncalves beat Bobby Shuttleworth to knot the score at 1-1, which would hold for the final score line.
Despite the controversial calls, Heaps was a bit disappointed with some of his team’s failure to play to the whistle on the play.
“It looks like there is a penalty and then we’re out of sorts and that can’t happen,” said Heaps. “That’s where I was disappointed in the play. We have to be better than what’s being dictated by a non-call or the other team. We have to be… because that was all they had in terms of that second half, Giovinco on two chances, one where he hit wide and one where he scored.
The play drew some parallels to last week, when the Revolution defeated the New York Red Bulls 1-0 on a controversial goal by Diego Fagundez. There the Red Bulls had a player down and were looking for a call as the Revolution played on and scored an easy goal with the defense out of position.
“It was a really tough play, but we were on the other side of it last week,” said Revolution defender Chris Tierney. “We preach play to the whistle. I haven’t really looked back and seen what happened fully, but we had guys rushing back and had some chances to make plays and it was just an unlucky deflection in the end so, it was a tough one.”
Another questionable non-call came in the 90th minute when substitute Charlie Davies led an attack into the box and was charged down from behind by Michael Bradley. Again no penalty call was forthcoming from the referee. New England still had a chance to score on the play despite the challenge, but Rowe, who scored the Revolution’s lone goal of the match in the 14th minute, sent a close range shot right at Toronto ‘keeper Clint Irwin.
“Unfortunately this real early part of the year we’ve been talking a lot about referees,” said Heaps. “They’ve got to make the right calls and they stand by it when they make the red card calls and they’ve just got to stand by it when they miss penalty kick calls and they missed two tonight.”
The controversy didn’t end there, as deep into stoppage time the Revolution scored what appeared to be a winner, when a Rowe cross from the left flank was played back across goal by rookie Femi Hollinger-Janzen at the endline and slotted home by Nguyen. The flag went up on the play, nullifying the goal as the referees ruled the ball went out of play before Hollinger-Janzen sent it across goal.
“Quite frankly, the last play of the game when we score the goal, the referee called it out of bounds—now, I have not seen that film yet—but for me you have to be in the right position,” said Heaps. “He’s called it out by an inch, so he’s got to be on the line to see that.”
For Heaps, one of the toughest parts of all the points the team has dropped in controversial fashion this year is the team talk at the end of the match.
“All week long we talk about following the game plan and going out and performing and being in positions to make plays,” said Heaps. “When they do that, and they’re there, and someone else decides it, not the other team, it’s really hard to explain to them because they put so much into it.”