The Houston Dynamo got a firsthand lesson just how cruel the game of soccer can be Saturday night. Not that they needed it, however.
Furiously hunting three points late, the Dynamo and their faithful fans broke into celebration when franchise icon Brian Ching’s chip found the back of the net in the 94th minute against the Montreal Impact.
But after a lively protest from the Impact, referee Chris Penso and assistant referee Jason Cullum conferred and waved off the goal, taking two crucial points off the board for a team pushing for the playoffs.
While the call was in fact correct, the entire sequence was a gut punch for Houston.
“It’s disappointing,” Ching said. “I was hoping we could sneak one and get a little bit lucky at the end considering in the past few weeks we have had some bad offside calls go against us. It’s disappointing because the linesman doesn’t wave his flag, we are celebrating, and then they call it back.”
For Will Bruin the confusion happened when he looked over and did not see Cullum raise his flag.
“It’s unfortunate the way it ended,” said Bruin, who scored his 12th goal of the season in the 44th minute to put Houston up 1-0. “We put them on their heels, and it was inches here and inches there. It’s a game of inches, and it just didn’t go our way tonight.”
Between several top saves from Montreal goalkeeper Troy Perkins and the woodwork, the Dynamo saw quality chance after quality chance fall by the wayside in the draw, which leaves the Dynamo watching the scoreboard on Sunday.
That’s when the Columbus Crew – who trail Houston by two points for the fifth and final postseason spot in the Eastern Conference – host Sporting Kansas City.
“I will be paying attention,” said Dynamo goalkeeper Tally Hall. “I don’t know that I have many light blue colors, but I’ll look in my closet and I’ll put them on.”
Darrell Lovell covers the Houston Dynamo for MLSsoccer.com. Follow him on twitter at @DarrellLovell.