The emotional wounds continue to fester after a tumultuous match between the Portland Thorns and Seattle Reign FC last Saturday in Tuwila, Wash left Seattle reeling when a dicey referee decision granted the thorns a penalty kick in the 84th minute and ultimately the 1-0 win.
But Wednesday, the Professional Referee Organization (PRO) released a statement after meticulously studying video footage of the controversial play that seems to linger in the air like a bothersome stench.
“After a pass is made from Christine Sinclair to Allie Long, referee Margaret Domka witnessed Seattle Reign defender Kristen Meier hold Allie Long inside the penalty area to prevent her from gaining possession of the ball and called a penalty kick. The available video evidence does not show this hold to have significantly impacted Long’s ability to play the ball prior to being cleared by the Seattle defense, and play should have been allowed to continue.”
With U.S. WNT goalkeeper Hope Solo back in action for the first time since her surgery, Seattle played like never before, a recharged electrical force surging through the field. Then, Sinclair took that fateful kick and when the ball hit that net, the “swoosh” echoed throughout the stadium.
“It was one of the few PKs (where) I’ve actually been really nervous,” Sinclair told reporters after the match.
Afterwards, Seattle gallantly pushed forward, but was unable to equalize. Solo, who had hoped for a thrilling NWSL debut was not happy.
“Unfortunately, Portland didn’t earn the victory and I think that’s what’s most disappointing for our team. They didn’t earn it. Dubious call. Referee gives it up. That’s really all I’ve got to say,” Solo told reporters.
Other post match comments directed towards the ref’s decision, like the one above, has stemmed further action. The NWSL plans to announce any sanctions against players and coaches for future post game comments that question match officiating.
Does any of this bring closure for Seattle? Maybe a little, and it did spur some in depth discussion and a fresh outlook on NWSL rules. But alas, it still doesn’t change the outcome of the game and Seattle makes out with zero points. At least the season still has a way to go and at this point, anything can happen.