USATSI_17118193

PRO Match Officials (via MLS Pool Reporter)

On why a review was not recommended in the 89th minute…

After checking all available angles, the VAR determined that the non-giving of a penalty for handling was not a clear and obvious error. 

On why a handball was not called in real-time on Justen Glad…

In real time, the angle of the referee’s view isn’t definitive if the ball hits Espinoza’s chest or Glad’s hand. 

On what the VAR official saw that made him believe that the non-call for handball was not a clear and obvious error…

The VAR determined the action by Glad was not deliberate.

Sporting Kansas City Manager Peter Vermes

Opening comments…

When a club in sports works the entire year, the entire year, to accomplish an objective and that includes players, staff, ownership, fans, and then you add into that the other teams in the league who are doing the same – the travesty that happened here tonight also affects other teams, as well, because they’re expecting the game to be played correctly. That is always incumbent upon the officials. Yes, the players, the coaches, the staff – they all have to do their part, but at the end of the day you have two competitors who come against each other to play. You have an impartial group that is to come and referee the game. Congratulations to Salt Lake. But what is incredibly disappointing, what is a stab to the heart of every single person that is associated to our club and all the clubs that are competing because this result affects them as well – Salt Lake gets in, LA gets knocked out. LA is now sitting on the outside because of a call, as well. That is incredibly, incredibly unprofessional. The fact that you have VAR. The fact that you have replays. The fact that you sit upstairs and you look at replays and you have all the time in the world to make that decision. The ball didn’t even go out of bounds. He could have blown the whistle at any time. VAR not coming back and talking about a clear and obvious mistake that that’s not a handball… If that is the case, if that’s what they believe – and I am never one to ask for anybody’s job or anything – then I would say that all of those guys are not able to referee, to look at VAR, to do whatever at this level. It has impacted everything. It is the black mark on this league. It is an example of why we lose so many people to watch this game year in and year out, game in and game out, because we do not get it right. It’s what I appreciate about the NFL all the time. I’m a big fan of the NFL because I think that they get it right. When they make a mistake, they are professional enough to stand up and say they did. They put in processes afterward to make sure it doesn’t happen again. That’s why they are the best league in our country. The fact that we missed that call out there in any game, let alone in the magnitude of this game, is incredibly, incredibly disappointing to someone who has been in the league since 1996. To see we have come so far but we haven’t come far enough because we can’t even get that right and we have replay… I’m embarrassed today to be a part of the league when you can’t do that. If you want to say that he didn’t see it, I can’t believe it. So then I start to think other things. Why? Why can you not make that call? It affects us. It affects LA. It affects other teams in the league. The fact that that does not get called, you now have to start asking yourself questions. Why? Why? Because anybody in this place or anybody in the stadium or anybody watching the game, they’re watching a replay on TV. How clear is it for the guy to just go like this (knocks over bottle) and handle the ball? You see the ball move. You see everything. I looked at one video on the field. I came in and watched the live video. I saw it there. Okay, maybe the referee is not in a good spot. I can understand that. That’s why there is VAR. The fact that it fails in this environment and I ask the question because I believe on a consistent basis that this club ends up being on the wrong side of any of those calls. It happens all the time, all the time. We have players in this league that dive all the time and get calls. We have players on our team that stand up and try to fight through things and try to play the game right, they don’t get calls. We are always on the wrong side. I can shoot back to last year. We played Dallas in Dallas and there’s a goal we score. They actually call a foul against us, coming out. The VAR person is watching that game. He misses it there, as well. Guess what we get out of that? Nothing. Dallas gets the benefit. Afterwards they say, ‘Oh yeah, it was a mistake. It was a mistake.’ But it gets no benefit to us now. Now if they come out after this and say they made a mistake, what does it do for us? What does it do for the other teams that have been impacted? Zero. This is unacceptable to me. This is unacceptable to me. I think this is a travesty. This is a travesty in sports. I think it’s the most difficult thing that I am going to have to deal with now leading up to when we play. Based on the fact that between the team and the staff, I’m going to have to figure it out because of how devastated they are of all the work that they’ve done over the course of the year. It doesn’t matter if it comes down to the last play of the game. It’s one thing if you made the mistake. It’s another thing when it was clear and obvious and you can not make the call when you even have replay on TV. It’s unacceptable. Something has to change. Something has to change on the way they do it and something has to change in the way that they look at this club. This club has been a model citizen since our ownership took over. We continue to get, somehow, this small market treatment which, frankly, I am tired of. We have been the best partner in this league in the way that our owners have shared things that they do on the business side and what we’ve done on the technical side. We’ve helped expansion teams come into this league. We’ve done so many things. I’m not asking for them to give us something. I’m just asking them to do what’s in front of them. A handball is a handball. Call it for us. Call it for the other team. But call it for us. And they don’t. On a regular basis, we get the short end of the stick. I’ve had this discussion with the league time and time again. They don’t admit to it. The reason why? First off, they have to protect their own. That’s one. The other is they don’t know what it’s like to live to be a club. They don’t know what it’s like to be a team because they don’t deal with wins, losses and ties. They don’t deal with disappointment and have to get back on the saddle again the next week and come out and find a way to win. They don’t deal with that. Those players do. Our staff does. Our fans do. That’s incredibly disrespectful to all of those groups and to our owners who put so much into this. It’s unacceptable. It’s 100 percent a penalty kick. It should be a penalty. It should have been called. I want answers from the league and I want them to come out and explain why it was not called. I can’t even get answers from the referees on the field to tell me what was the process. Why weren’t you asked to go look at it on video? It could have been really simple. Go look at it on the video and make your decision. Look at it on the video. The fact that they don’t even look at it on the video, it makes me start thinking about things that I don’t want to think about. It puts it in my mind – and I know you know what I’m talking about.

On the explanation he received from the referees…

I got no explanation. Zero. Zero. Zero. The AR – Ian, good guy – said to me, ‘Peter, I can’t answer the question. I can’t see anything. I’m down here. It’s the VAR guy’s job to answer the question.’

Thoughts on the match…

It was a good game. It was a good game. It was a game that you want to watch on Decision Day. But unfortunately, the most important part of the game was missed. That’s it. I don’t have anything else to say. It was a good game. It was a back and forth game. It was a good game. Our guys put everything out there for the game. There’s not just an impact on us. It impacts he league. It impacts the league as a whole. It impacts the LA Galaxy for all the work that they’ve done over the course of the year. It impacts everybody. It impacts everybody in a negative way.

On resting some starters…

All those guys have a little bit of a knick and I wasn’t going to jeopardize those guys in this game and risk a major injury for any of those guys like a pull or whatever. They’ll all be good. They’ll be training next week. They’ll be good. I wasn’t going to risk them.

On the performance of Grayson Barber…

He worked very hard. I probably left him out there 10-15 minutes longer than I probably should have. He gave a hell of work shift today. He worked really hard. He just needs to get into those positions a little bit more because at times he’s a little anxious to get rid of the ball. Otuside of that, he was really good.

Sporting KC midfielder Roger Espinoza

On what he saw during the handball sequence...

I was right there. I was the guy making the play. You could see me raising my hands and saying, ‘That’s a penalty kick.’ That’s what I saw. I went and told the referee that it’s a penalty and that we have to stop the play. Nothing happened.

On if the referee offered an explanation...

He got mad at me, actually. He got incredibly mad and said he was going to stop talking to me.

On the frustration of the call...

It’s very frustrating because, when I commit a foul, they go and look at it and I get a red card. It happens all the time, even if it’s unintentional. I think it needs to be reviewed even if it is unintentional. I don’t know what happens to referees but I am pretty sure I get red cards, but I don’t know if they get red cards. It is what it is and I’m still very proud of my teammates for the hard work they gave tonight.

Thoughts on the match as a whole...

These games are difficult. There’s a lot of guys that have been playing since the Seattle game. Then we came home against Galaxy, then we went to Minnesota, then Austin and then here again. For those guys that played the entirety of those games, and a lot of guys played full games like Johnny [Russell] and Gadi [Kinda] who needed rest. Being in this league and being a team that doesn’t have a big roster, a small market team, it’s very difficult to have a lot of players in the lineup. A lot of guys are injured. We lost Alan [Pulido] and we lost Daniel [Salloi] for a little bit. It becomes difficult and we’re a small market team, a team that fights hard. Sometimes it’s difficult when you fight in games like this where you fight all the way to the end and come out with a negative result.

On the frustration with this decision...

Right now, it’s tough. Obviously, nobody is happy. We had three games left in the season where we could have done a little better but we worked hard and we fought hard for moments like that: putting teams on their toes to get goals that we’re deserving of. For that not to go our way is very disappointing. We’re definitely very disappointed but we have the playoffs now. We have a game at home. We have to win that game. We have another two weeks to rest and get guys like Johnny and Gadi that are very important to this team back in the lineup. Hopefully Alan can also join. With those three guys we’re going to be a way better team.

Sporting KC goalkeeper Tim Melia

On his frustration with the end of the match...

I’m disappointed. I thought we fought really well in that game. I thought guys were buzzing all over the place, breaking up plays and controlling possession for large stretches of the game. We didn’t put our opportunities away and gave the opportunity for something to happen. It seems like it’s a culmination of all of those decisions that are against us but ultimately that doesn’t make a difference. At this point our attention fully has to shift. We’re in a phenomenal position that if you asked us in the beginning of the year, do you want to be at home in the playoffs in the first round, every single one of us would have said yes.

On the mindset going into playoffs...

We need momentum. It’s no secret in this league, especially in the playoffs, the teams that have the most momentum seem to do the best. We need to build that in the first game. We’re coming off three losses which is not something that is normal or something that we’ve done in a really long time. We need to get back to winning ways and we have the opportunity to do it at home in front of the most supporting fans ever. It’s going to be an awesome environment and it’s going to be a fun, fast game. We’re going to build our momentum in that first playoff game.

On the difficulty of these last three games...

There were just so many games combined. There’s a lot of emotion, a lot of effort that’s being put into these games. They were coming very fast at the end of the year. All of those things play a huge factor in these games. They’re behind us. They don’t mean anything. Everything that’s to play for is in front of us and we can be very excited about the position that we’ve put ourselves in at this point in time.