Peter Walton, general manager of the Professional Referee Organization, the group in charge of officiating Major League Soccer matches, has changed his view on the incident between D.C. United midfielder Raphael Augusto and Houston Dynamo defender Andre Hainault in the first half of United’s 3-1 loss at BBVA Compass Stadium on Sunday.
Upon further review, Walton now believes Hainault should’ve been red carded for his tackle instead of the no-call by referee Ricardo Salazar.
“In review of that play, my opinion has changed in as much as the defender, which I thought in real time would have influenced the play, clearly was behind the action and therefore the disciplinary sanction should have been a red card for denial of a goal scoring opportunity,” Walton said in a statement.
“I made the initial statement on my real time opinion without having the advantage of a replay. Having reviewed the replay, it is clear it ticks all the boxes for a denial of as goal scoring opportunity and a send-off should have been the outcome.”
Hainault, of course, scored the first of three Houston goals in the second half. The question now is whether or not Major League Soccer uses Walton’s statement as the basis to potentially punish Hainault.
This was United coach Ben Olsen’s reaction to the news of Walton’s new stance: “Oh he did? Really? I agree with him. Look, I hate talking about referees. But it was real. It’s a real call that could’ve changed the course of this series. It’s disappointing. I don’t feel like we’ve gotten the greatest shake the last couple of weeks with the whole playoff series. But it is what it is. We’ll move on. We have a huge task ahead of us that we’re excited about. We want to continue proving people wrong and do things that people don’t expect out of us.”
* On the injury front, Chris Pontius, Brandon McDonald and Marcelo Saragosa – all three who came off during the Houston game with injuries – did not practice on Wednesday.
The outlook appears to be more positive for McDonald (calf) and Saragosa (hamstring) than it does for Pontius (groin).
“I think we got some promising news on two of them. The MRIs look pretty good, and we need to evaluate them day to day. We’ll see about Chris. Chris at this point looks a little bit more severe than the other, but there’s still a chance he’ll be OK as well.”