RSL ties FC Dallas in Frisco

RSLFCD (Getty)

Another game, another questionable call against Real Salt Lake.

That's how some RSL players and most RSL fans must have felt after yet another controversial referee's decision cost the team points. Just four days after a very questionable red card left RSL with nine men in an eventual loss to San Jose, a dubious penalty called against Tony Beltran helped give FC Dallas a leg up in their Western Conference clash in Frisco, Texas on Wednesday night.

Brek Shea converted the penalty for Dallas, but RSL did rally to equalize courtesy of a goal from Emilio Bonfigli. Will Johnson delivered a beautiful pass that Bonfigli ran onto and finished expertly to help RSL salvage a draw and snap a two-match losing streak.

Playing without Jamison Olave and Fabian Espindola, both out serving red card suspensions, RSL played FC Dallas even for much of the night, but the PK call against Beltran ultimately kept them from a precious road win. The call came just before halftime when Beltran attempted to clear a long free kick floated into the penalty area, only to have his clearance attempt deflect off teammate Chris Schuler and catch him in the arm as he slipped onto the turf.

Bonfigli equalized in the 72nd minute when he ran onto Johnson's pass, took a touch with his knee, and unleashed a quick left-footed shot past Chris Seitz.

Here are the match highlights:

What did you think of the match? Agree or disagree with the referee's decision on the penalty? Think a draw was a fair result?

Share your thoughts below.

This entry was posted in MLS- FC Dallas, MLS- Real Salt Lake. Bookmark the permalink.

43 Responses to RSL ties FC Dallas in Frisco

  1. Toni says:

    My takeaway from this – besides the very bad looking injury to another FCD starter thanks to Javi Morales – was a moment in the game which RSL behaved unsportsmanlike and against the traditions of the game. FCD kicked out the ball due to an injured RSL player. RSL, after the throw-in, despite giving possession back to FCD, continued to attack. FCD was rightfully furious. This is world-wide tradition that RSL failed to abide by. Very poor form. #NoClass

  2. Clark says:

    Javi gets fouled, ref indicates advantage for an extremely short period and we lose possesion immediately thereafter. Sorry, I don’t blame RSL for not giving the ball back, considering the quality of the refereeing that we have been subject to the last two games, the players are getting tired of getting the short end of the stick from inexperienced MLS refereeing crews when that clearly should have been brought back for a free kick at the spot of the original foul. Oh and Javi didn’t do anything wrong when the FC Dallas player fell on the ball and was kicked in the arm, total fluke play. So jog on Toni.

  3. Tim says:

    Yeah they played a long ball in but Sabo pulled up and let the keeper grab it. Nothing came of it. You didn’t take the ball when Javi went down we passed it to him, he was on the ground, it rolled past him, you guys got it, and kicked it out. It was more of a toss up on who should have it. If it was me, I probably would’ve given it back to you guys just to keep you from whining. But it wasn’t a clear cut situation.

  4. Toni says:

    Thanks for that. There are always two sides. Though I should note I was a neutral here. Not a FCD fan. Just love the game and its traditions. Thanks for the clarification though.

  5. Toni says:

    Would love to “jog on” but lemme just note that Javi is pure class. He did not intend to hurt that player. Clearly, after what he went through, he would never purposefully do that to another player. I was just noting something that was a big talking point from the game that wasn’t mentioned in the post.

  6. BullOney says:

    I just watched the video and don’t see the controversy on the PK call. While it appeared to be unintentional, his arm was extended (unnatural position) and he did benefit from it hitting his arm (ball took an unexpected direction change away from the oncoming Dallas player). Some refs may have let it go, but it was handling per the rules and the ref wasn’t wrong.

  7. Vinz Clortho says:

    The penalty was the sort that I would think should not be called i.e. ball to arm but it happens.

    As far as the injury goes, it’s unfortunate. I’ve never been a fan of grabbing the ball before the whistle because you assume it will come.

    It happened quickly and Javi pulled out as much as I think he could have having not expected the guy to stick his arm over the ball. Absolutely no malice on his part. He of all people can empathize.

  8. Utahson says:

    After years of watching MLS play, I’ve sadly come to expect sub-standard refereeing. The league pays only lip service to improving referee quality. I take consolation in the fact that, over the course of a season, all teams suffer equally from poor officiating, but it is still frustrating to watch.

  9. chupacabra says:

    It’s called karma. RSL has scored numerous goals that should have been called offside over the last several seasons, and now payback is catching up with them.

  10. chupacabra says:

    Agree. Wasn’t there a PK call just like this in yesterday’s Real Madrid/Bayern Munich match?

  11. chupacabra says:

    RSL and its fans never complained the numerous times in the past when the refs’ mistakes were in their favor.

  12. Utahson says:

    Every team scores goals that probably should have been called back. Every team scores goals that are wrongly denied. It’s the nature of the game. Are you really claiming that RSL is somehow unfairly favored by MLS referee crews? Ridiculous.

  13. RSLfan says:

    I would argue that the PK calls were different in one play the defender has his arm away from his body as a Madrid player plays a cross into the box that his arm, inadvertently knocks down. Where as Beltran was just trying to boot a ball out in the dying minutes of the first half and had the ball ricochet in close quarters, his handball didn’t actually negatively effect FCD at all, in fact you don’t see a single player arguing for a hand ball and even the ref took a second to call it. HOWEVER, some calls like this are going to happen and I expect some to go in RSL’s favor at some point. It didn’t leave them down a man and they had their chances at three points and couldn’t convert. Also, as an RSL fan I was disappointed that RSL didn’t give the ball back to Dallas after they played it out. It wasn’t FCD’s decision to not blow a whistle. Houston did this against RSL back in 2008 and all the team was really riled up by this and it ended up in a few red cards shortly after, so I would have expected better from RSL on that play.

  14. Ryan says:

    I agree that its a harsh way to give up a penalty but its a call that I’ve seen many times and have to say that refs have been fairly consistent with the calls. Its been made clear that if the ball makes contact with the hand/arm while extend from the body its going to be called more times than not.

  15. RSLfan says:

    Just an ignorant comment, plain and simple…

  16. RSL Fan says:

    RSL should have kicked it back to FCD. I think Schuler didn’t know what to do… definitely should have been given back to FCD right away.

  17. RSLfan says:

    Yeah, I agree, especially this year w/ the new scrutiny the referees are under I would guess that they will error more on the side of textbook then judgement on those types of plays. I also don’t think it would have been quite as big of a deal if it wasn’t three days after the Olave red. Sure it would always be part of the story, but probably not the first sentence b/c these calls do happen often. Doesn’t mean that I agree w/ them, but I find it hard to be outraged.

  18. BullOney says:

    Actually, the ref appeared to immediately make the call and the RSL players did not argue much. Even Beltron said after the game that he did not “think” it was handling, but would have to watch a replay.

  19. ben in el cajon says:

    1) I wouldn’t have given the penalty, but the outcome of the game seemed fair.

    2) George John showed why he maybe shouldn’t get a call-up.

    3) Shae has a little speed.

  20. MemRook says:

    Well youre both almost kind of agreeing. He’s calling it “karma” (kind of wrong use of the word) and you’re calling it the “nature of the game”; you’re both basically saying the same thing: you win some, you lose some (calls). Chupa never says anything about referees singling out RSL. He just says that they have had a lot favorable calls and now not-so-favorable. Kind of like what you said. I’m not saying I necessarily agree with Chupa’s assessment of RSL’s history regarding correct calls or not. I don’t pretend to know every single call by heart. But I definitely agree with you that everything comes out in the wash due to the “nature of the game.”

  21. MemRook says:


  22. kicker says:

    As an RSL fan I agree that it should have been kicked back to FC Dallas. That said, I believe it was a misunderstanding on RSL’s part as some of their own teammates seemed to be trying to get them to kick it to Dallas, there was just some confusion. I’ve never seen RSL not kick it back in similar situations before last night.

    Onto the penalty… Seemed to be a very poor call to me. Beltran was slipping and minimal contact was made, there was certainly no intent. I think they said that ref had given 9 penalties in 11 matches reffed. I think that pretty much says it all. But all in all, with the consistently questionable reffing in MLS (for and against all teams) I believe it will even itself out. It just sucks having a a questionable game changing call in back to back games.

    I hope for Dallas that their player makes a quick recovery. I never like see someone getting injured. Unless it’s someone like Marquez who has it coming 😉

  23. The 10 says:

    Wut? The ball caromed off RSL’s Chris Schuler and grazed Beltran’s arm as he slipped and fell in the box. I would agrgue that his arm was in a natural position. I don’t know of anyone who wouldn’t extend their arms when going to ground except maybe a double amputee. There is no way you can argue the contact impacted the play and benefitted RSL. The ball was headed out for a corner if it doesn’t come off of Beltran’s elbow and redirect right into the path of Shea. Goerge John who is standing right over Beltran doesn’t even ask for the hand ball.

  24. MensreaJim says:

    “Unintentional” is basically the opposite of “deliberate,” so by the rule it shouldn’t be called.

    HOWEVER, they call this very consistently, so I don’t see a problem. One way or another, that’s all players (and fans) ultimately want.

  25. boosted335 says:

    John raised his hand

  26. Gnarls says:

    The ref reaffirmed his inexperience last night. I couldn’t help noticing that leading into last night’s game he’d called 8 PKs in 10 games. Then, sure enough, he calls highly suspect PK against RSL. I’m not a fan of either team, but the poor reffing in MLS has got to stop.

  27. boosted335 says:

    Watch the slow motion…it was neither Beltran or Schuler but ?Sabario? who redirects ball with his hand. Slow mo shows this very clearly if you watch the ball trajectory.

  28. eggads says:

    1) alright

    2) Because he cant guard two players at once?

    3) He does have a burst

  29. SLR says:

    Yep, and he now has called 9 PKs in 11 games. MLS refs continue to be the worst in the world.

  30. Jonathon says:

    He called 8 PKs in 10 games. So what? What if all 8 of those were the right call? That statistic on its own means absolutely nothing. You can’t say anything about his refereeing skills just by looking at that statistic.

  31. Neruda says:

    If RSL can win at RioT against TFC than that will be four points this week. The tie against FCD isn’t the worst result despite the suspect penalty. I saw the Morales accidental kick to the FCD players arm and he stopped right away and called for some help as it was obvious the arm broken/dislocated.
    I think RSL is really missing Ned Grabavoy and all the little things he does.

    A number of people are posting about refs being consistent which means they’re consistently bad and spread out the misfortune to all teams. We’d all rather see consistently good though.

  32. The 10 says:

    I want some of whatever you are smoking. Beltran tries to clear the ball, it strikes the heal of Shuler and comes immediately back at Beltran who is falling down and comes off his elbow and into the path of Shea. The trajectory of the ball coming off Shuler’s heal would clearly carried it over the end line for a corner kick.

  33. Stats guy says:

    Of course you can. I’ll admit it’s a small sample size, but with 9 PKs in 11 games, he’s clearly calling for more PKs than other refs.

  34. dgoshilla says:

    I realize this is a broader discussion that will never be resolved because FIFA is garbage BUT there are far too many arbitrary rules in soccer. How many fouls lead to a yellow card? How many fouls after a yellow card lead to a red? How exactly does the ref keep track of stoppage time? Is stoppage time accurate? Why should an inadvertent handball be called a penalty? We need more concrete rules in this game. With replays and technology the issues will only grow bigger and we have the technology to solve them.

  35. dgoshilla says:

    Soccer could learn a LOT from the NBA or the the NHL when it comes to clock management by the refs and how fouls are called, accumulated and severity determined.

  36. Jonathon says:

    Yes, he’s calling for more PKs than other refs. So? That doesn’t say anything about his refereeing skills. Every single one of those PK calls might be right.

  37. CR says:

    After all of these injuries FCD’s “All Injured/Suspended” team would be pretty competitive.

  38. boosted335 says:

    Before all that goofball. ?Sabario? hits it with his arm BEFORE it reaches Schuler OR Beltran.
    WATCH THE BALL AT THE START OF THE SLOW MO REPLAY. Also you need to improve your reading comprehension skills

  39. The 10 says:

    Again, please send me whatever you are smoking. Saborio doesn’t come anywhere close to playing the ball with either arm/hand. Watch the embedded video again, at 3:25 and 4:07 there are perfect shots of Saborio with arms straight down to his sides as the ball passes over his head.

  40. RSLfan says:

    The karma comment was ignorant not yours…the soccer gods were getting them back for their offside goals…ridiculous statement. Had I realized though that he had posted multiple anti-RSL comments earlier though I wouldn’t have responded, but I had yet to realize he is just a hater…

  41. The 10 says:

    This is what Beltran said after the game.

    link to

    “I’m going to have to see it again to really comment on it,” Beltran said. “But just from what I thought happened during the play, I cleared it off of somebody and it came back and barely grazed my elbow. I was pretty disappointed with the call at the time. There is really no chance for me to get out of the way of that ball.”

  42. JRP says:

    Are you dating the ref? If a ref is that far above average on the times he reaches to the back pocket there is room for scrutiny.

  43. JRP says:

    Right. Because the games are so similar. And the MLS vendors should really learn how to make a Chicago Dog like I can get at a Mets game.
    Not the same.
    Let’s institute a shot clock and time outs and then soccer will really make a lot of sense. And if guys just had a box where they could cool when tempers flare we wouldn’t need red cards.
    And then when the get kicked out of the game let’s just be able to sub in another guy and not pay a team penalty and play a man down.
    You guys are right. NHL and NBA never have disciplinary problems or time issues. And those games are perfect. NBA games come down to who shoots better at the free throw line 9 games out of 10. NHL? When they get attendance higher than MLS games I will pay attention.