Two days did nothing to change the Seattle Sounders’ conviction that they were done wrong — twice — Saturday in their 1-0 loss at Sporting Kansas City.
Coach Sigi Schmid and goalkeeper Stefan Frei talked more calmly Monday than they had over the weekend at Sporting Park. But they remain convinced that one botched call took a goal from them, while another paved the way for Sporting’s winner.
“Sometimes you don’t get the calls,” Schmid said. “That’s just the way it is.”
The decision that got most of the attention was a penalty whistled on Frei after he collided with Kansas City substitute Dom Dwyer as each went after a 50-50 ball inside the penalty area. Referee Ismail Elfath’s call on Frei mandated a penalty kick, which Benny Feilhaber converted for the game’s only goal.
“That’s probably the most frustrating call I’ve ever had called against me,” Frei said. “… I get the ball before I make contact with the player, at the same time he makes contact with me. So it’s not like I’m the one charging and he’s not. We’re both going for it. We both have a right for the ball. And he makes the call. And we’re going to have to live with that.”
After the penalty was called, Frei darted over to Elfath to complain, and he appeared to make physical contact with the referee.
“I didn’t intentionally make any contact with him,” Frei said. “I know what that means. I got close to him and I gave him a piece of my mind, and he stood ground. I was motioning with my hands as you would if you’re not happy about something, and I might have made contact with him, and I might have not. But I didn’t put my hands on him. I know that’s a big no-no, and that’s where you just have to reel in your emotions a little bit maybe.”
Frei was issued a yellow card for dissent. Schmid said he would be disappointed if the MLS Disciplinary Committee added punishment beyond that.
The other disputed call came earlier in the second half, when an apparent goal by Seattle forward Lamar Neagle was waved off due to offside. Replays indicated that Neagle was not only level with his defender — which is considered onside — but he also was behind the ball at the time that it was passed — also an onside position.
“The problem is the linesman — the AR (assistant referee) — kept up with the last defender,” Schmid said. “Well, the last defender was unimportant, because all he had to do was keep up with the ball, because the ball was ahead of Neagle. So even if Neagle is ahead of the last defender, you’re never offside because he’s behind the ball. That was just an error from the AR because of his positioning. But again, it happens. They’re human.”
Seattle goals leader Clint Dempsey returned to training Monday at Starfire Sports after missing the SKC game due to the birth of his fourth child. He is expected to return to the lineup Saturday night, when FC Dallas visits CenturyLink Field.
Schmid was less certain about forwards Obafemi Martins (nose) and Chad Barrett (hamstring), whose injuries prevented them from traveling to Kansas City.
Also unknown is the availability of central defender Brad Evans, who will remain with the U.S. national team through its Wednesday friendly at Germany.
“We’ll see how many minutes Evans plays on Wednesday,” Schmid said. “And then he gets back on Thursday, how he feels.”
Evans did not play Friday in the USA’s 4-3 win over Netherlands.