Controversy in Utah, And a Soccer Game!By: Chris | July 24th, 2011
Jon Busch and the Quakes were none too happy during the game Saturday night. What looked like another 0-0 draw for the Quakes quickly turned into a bloodbath after a Real Salt Lake penalty kick brought on by poor refereeing.
The Quakes came to Sandy, Utah without Lenhart, Dawkins, or Hernandez as Dawkins and Hernandez had injuries and Lenhart had personal reasons for missing the game. As such, the Quakes attack and defense were left shorthanded against a tough RSL opponent. In my short preview of the match on Friday I read on goal.com that Fabian Espíndola and Álvaro Saborío were questionable for the game. I always read questionable as not playing, so I didn’t figure those two into my thinking when I said the Quakes might come out of Rio Tinto with 3 points. Alas they were in the starting 11 and Saborío really tore the defense open.
The Quakes attacked for the first 15 minutes or so, and did a good job of keeping RSL pinned back in their half of the field. Those 15 minutes were the extent of San Jose’s attacking prowess for the match. RSL managed to get their legs under them and quickly regained their trademark possession, and it was telling. In the first half the Quakes only had 33% possession, and in the first 15 minutes of the second half, that number had dropped to 18%. Despite 15 minutes of domination, the Quakes were unable to get any shots on target and forced Rimando to make 1 save all night.
While the Quakes were being hammered by RSL’s offense, the defense did a tremendous job preventing them from scoring. Hernandez was not in the game because he picked up a slight injury during the Vancouver game and was unable to pass the fitness test for the RSL game. So Yallop decided to start Nana Attakora alongside Burling at center back. Attakora is still not 100% ready, missing the last 5 weeks in Toronto due to injury, and despite a couple potentially dangerous mistakes, played pretty well. When the defense was beaten, Busch stepped up and like always delivered the Quakes from being scored upon.
Attakora had been taken out in the 57th, partially due to fatigue, but it also looked like he may have tweaked his ankle on a play. Brad Ring was brought on and put into the center back position. Tim Ward was playing as a right back that game because Steven Beitashour was still injured. Ward is a tall guy, so I don’t know why Ring was told to play as a CB when Ward could have stepped in there and potentially been a better choice.
A few minutes after Attakora came out Saborío was played a ball behind Ring by Will Johnson. As Ring chases Saborío, Burling moved in front of him in the hopes of slowing him down and as Saborío tries to dance around Burling, he falls to the ground. My first thought was dread that Burling was going to be given a yellow or at least a foul and RSL would get a penalty kick. Imagine my surprise when the ref hands Ring a red card! Even the TV announcers were shocked. Busch, Burling and Wondo came running over and started arguing with the ref, stating that Saborío deserved a yellow for diving. Replays showed that Burling barely touched Saborío and that Ring was too far behind him to trip Saborío.
The ref went over to his assistant to discuss and everyone thought they would come to the obvious conclusion that Saborío deserved a yellow. Instead Burling was given the red card! In utter dismay Burling walked off the pitch while Busch was still screaming at the ref. In the end it didn’t matter as the penalty kick was successfully taken by Saborío. Yallop then subbed out Scott Sealy for Chris Leitch to fill in as Burling’s replacement in the back.
After the PK, Busch was caught on tape flipping someone off, presumably the ref, and probably shouting “F*ck You” at him as well. I can’t imagine he’s going to be playing Saturday against DC United, especially for what happened after the game as well. But after the PK I was just hoping the Quakes could see out the game as a 1-0 loss so that our goal differential wouldn’t suffer too much.
Instead RSL added 3 more goals for the complete route of the Quakes. Saborío ended up scoring his second in the 68th minute off a Busch save. The ball ended up right at his feet and he reflexively poked the ball into the net. Kyle Beckerman scored in the 78th minute during a scramble in front of the Quakes net and Jamison Olave sealed the game in the 83rd minute from an Arturo Alvarez cross.
The Quakes were obviously upset and disappointed that they were the end of poor refereeing, but that didn’t stop Busch from making sure Jason Kreis, RSL’s head coach, knew how he felt.
As Busch was walking off the field he went over to Kreis to say something to him. He was pointing into Kreis' face and as Busch was walking away, Kreis tried to come after him into the tunnel. An RSL assistant coach or staffer had to restrain him. The TV announcers guessed that Busch told Kreis that his team should be better than that, meaning the dive for the PK, and it was a show of poor sportsmanship. If you remember, RSL and Kreis put up a big stink when Charlie Davies earned a PK against RSL with a dive a few weeks ago. When asked about what was said, Busch said that he had asked Kreis what he wanted for dinner, with Busch asking for pizza and Kreis steaks. This incident, along with the finger to the ref, you would think, will probably result in a fine and suspension for Busch for at least the next game.
Everyone on the team was upset with the result and rightfully so. But as fans we shouldn't loose focus that the Quakes still have 13 games left, that's 39 points, and as long as we start winning more of the games we've been drawing, we'll be able to get into the playoffs in the wild card spot.