After mounting what looked to be a thrilling Texas Derby comeback to save a point on Sunday, the Houston Dynamo relinquished “El Capitán” on a goal that, upon review, should not have been allowed.
With the match knotted at two in the 90th minute, FC Dallas’ Kenny Cooper found space behind Jermaine Taylor in front of goal. Michel’s looping cross found Cooper and he appeared to bring it down legally before slotting past Tally Hall. But replays showed it landed on his bicep, giving the North Texas club a 3-2 victory that didn’t sit well with their southern rivals.
The circumstances surrounding the final goal and a foul to lead to Dallas’ first goal were too much for Dynamo head coach Dominic Kinnear to let go.
MLS Match Recap: FC Dallas 3, Houston Dynamo 2
“I thought the first few minutes looked really good,” Kinnear told reporters after the match. “And then a big guy out in the field threw himself to the ground and gets a free kick. And they got a goal out of it.”
Kinnear was referring to a foul whistled on Boniek García 38 yards from goal against Cooper. The FC Dallas forward attempted to cut past the Honduran international and went to the ground under the ensuing challenge. The foul prompted the free kick that George John bundled home, with an unlucky assist from Bobby Boswell’s head.
“I’ve watched this league for three weeks now and it saddens me that we have people who have no problem diving, and looking for fouls and then looking to the heavens,” Houston's head coach continued. “It’s a sickening epidemic that’s going on in our league and hopefully it cancels itself out here pretty soon. Because some teams play hard, some guys cheat. Sometimes the cheaters win. When you have guys that don’t even get looked at, don’t get touched, falling on the ground looking for fouls, it makes me want to throw up.”
Cooper was in the mix often on Sunday, drawing a pair of fouls in a physical derby battle that saw several players on both sides hit the deck. FC Dallas head coach Schellas Hyndman noted the physical play in a halftime interview on the ESPN broadcast.
It was the reaction to that play that drew the ire of the Dynamo boss, who had no time for players looking to coax referees into calls to help their cause.
“Hopefully the players look at themselves and realize that they are cheaters, first, and putting the game into total disrespect,” Kinnear said. “And hopefully that’s something that we, as coaches and players and as a league, can stop. Because it makes me not want to watch the game. And I can understand why people don’t want to watch when [players] do that stuff.”
Darrell Lovell covers the Houston Dynamo for MLSsoccer.com.