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Crafty Blas: Perez wins late penalty, equalizing goal for FC Dallas against Portland

May 9, 2013, 12:41 AM EDT

Portland Timbers v FC Dallas Getty Images

This one was much-discussed on social media in the wake of Juan Guzman’s call in Dallas, but there have certainly been worse penalty calls (there was a much worse one given at Gillette Stadium a few hours earlier). And at least on the replay, below, you can see why the call was made. By the time the lead official saw what was going on, Guzman may have only seen Portland’s Andrew Jean-Bapiste — arms extended with a hold of Blas Pérez’s kit — standing over a falling Dallas attacker. You may not agree with the call, but the whistle shouldn’t have been shocking.

You hate to say it, but Pérez deserves some credit here. He initiates the contact, drawing the second-year defender into a battle. He’s guilty of as much grappling as his opponent, but when it’s time for the contact to become decisive, he’s made himself into the victim:

Though the whistle ultimately cost them points, it’s hard to feel too sorry for the Timbers. Teams have to overcome worse all the time. If there’s a reason to feel sorry for Caleb Porter’s side, it’s in the recent ACL injury to Mikael Silvestre. Or the previous season-ender for David Horst. With the re-emergence of Futty Danso, Andrew Jean-Baptiste should be Portland’s fourth-choice central defender. Would Silvestre of Horst been drawn into a similar mistake?

When Kenny Cooper buried the penalty, he cancelled out Darlington Nagbe’s opener, salvaging a draw for FC Dallas. The result extends FCD’s unbeaten run to four while allowing Portland to stay unbeaten on the road.

It also, thanks to Montréal’s loss, leaves Dallas and Portland as the league’s only teams yet to suffer a second loss. It’s a record that keeps Dallas at the top of the West, but thanks to six draws in 10 games, the Timbers are six points back.

  1. sir1389 - May 9, 2013 at 12:44 AM

    The simple answer is MLS officiating needs to start showing an equal level of improvement as the league improves year after year.

    • chadmoon1 - May 9, 2013 at 11:38 AM

      I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again. Easy to say on a soccer blog, “the referee’s need to get better.” But until you’ve actually done it, you have no idea what you are talking about. Go out and do it yourself before you type on a keyboard how others aren’t doing it well enough.

      • SD1 Timbers Special Forces - May 9, 2013 at 12:45 PM

        This is the only sport in the US that gives the refs so little help where the margin of error is so huge. More refs and cameras so we can stop abusing humans for being human, please. It’s not 1863 anymore.

      • mlsconvert88888 - May 9, 2013 at 3:36 PM

        I agree a lot of pointless ref bashing goes on by people who don’t get the whole picture, and refs in every league, even the refs in the top leagues, blow calls. To err is human, to forgive, divine.

        With that being said, in this game this was a very poor call. In the vacuum of just this one play, say the ref misses Perez’s initiating contact, and doesn’t realize that Jean-Baptistes jersey pull is actually countering the momentum of Perez’s dive, sure I could see it being called a penalty. Off the ball with absolutely no effect on the play, but Baptistes hands on Perez can easily be seen as a soft penalty.
        But watching the entire game, up to this point body checking and grappling off of the ball was routinely uncalled and became the norm, which is why this call felt like a travesty.

        Funny thing was, I felt like Dallas deserved to tie, but it should’ve been on a Fabian Castillo chip or Perez’s previous header, not because the ref decided it was time to throw dallas a bone.
        Give credit to Perez for being crafty and drawing the penalty if you want, but to me that type of low cunning mars the beautiful game, and marred an intense game between two western conference contenders.

  2. facebookuser111 - May 9, 2013 at 12:50 AM

    Meanwhile the Sounders beat KC…. at some point today…

  3. term3186 - May 9, 2013 at 1:41 AM

    Eh. I can’t fault the ref too much. At the time Perez is hitting the deck AJB is pulling on both sleeves, to the point where Perez’s shirt is riding up to nipple height.

  4. SD1 Timbers Special Forces - May 9, 2013 at 12:24 PM

    As a Timber fan, it was a classic Dennis Rodman move and not in a bad way, in a smart way. AJB just isn’t experienced enough to know that players are going to mess with him and he’s going to get busted for retaliating.

    Dennis Rodman was a master of this. He knew the refs wouldn’t see his initial contact but would be much more likely to see the frustrated retaliation. Which is just being smart. AJB will learn, hopefully but your post was my same feeling, an older experienced player baiting a younger inexperienced player into being the attention of the ref. Damn.

    • lunasceiling - May 11, 2013 at 12:16 PM

      Agreed, SD1. It wasn’t a good call, but if Jean-Baptiste exercises the bit of caution that someone on a late one goal lead (and making a play in the box) should be, the situation never arises. Still, even accounting for my TA bias, it’s fair to say the Timbers played the better match. Concerns at the back notwithstanding, they’re in good form. Looking forward to tomorrow (v. Chivas)…

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