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MLS Week 19 Review: Controversial call takes spotlight on chaotic weekend

A refereeing decision in the Hudson River Derby is the talk of Major League Soccer this week.

Week 19 in Major League Soccer was already chaotic enough before the first Hudson River Derby of the season kicked off. 

Once the match between the New York Red Bulls and New York City FC was completed, all everyone wanted to talk about was a changed call from a corner kick to a throw-in that led to Daniel Royer’s game-winning goal.

Should it have counted? Why wasn’t a corner kick given? There were many questions surrounding the controversial, and pivotal moment, of the match that occurred in the 60th minute. 

Pro Soccer USA’s Dylan Butler was the pool reporter at Red Bull Arena and received this response from referee Alan Kelly. 

The decision in question occurred in the 60th minute, when assistant referee Corey Rockwell appeared to signal for a corner kick, which we later learned was overruled by Kelly. The Red Bulls took a throw-in instead. 

The NYCFC players and coaching staff were incensed with the decision, and after the final whistle, they let their opinions loose. 

Although the decision did change the course of the game, NYCFC still had 30 minutes to rally for a second goal, and it wasn’t able to. 

The Red Bulls, who didn’t play well for most of the first half, received an emotional boost from Royer’s second goal of the night and ended up benefiting from that in the final third of the contest. 

You could argue NYCFC should have been better prepared to deal with a quick throw-in, or you could make the case in favor of the Pigeons that they were waiting for the corner kick and getting set to deal with that. 

Regardless of how you view the situation, it left the league stuck in a refereeing controversy in a high-profile match, which is a topic that will continue to generate conversation throughout the week among fans and pundits alike. 

It’s a shame that the biggest talking point from Week 19 is a controversial refereeing decision since there were so many impressive performances to reflect on. 

Elsewhere this weekend, five road teams, including Los Angeles FC on short rest and struggling FC Cincinnati, were victorious, a first-place team suffered a brutal result and there was plenty of late drama that led to home wins for Orlando City and Minnesota United

In case you missed anything from Week 19, we have a recap of everything you need to know below. 

Goals of the Week 

Jozy Altidore, Toronto FC

Quincy Amarikwa, DC United 

Sam Nicholson, Colorado Rapids

Goal of the Year candidate

Raul Ruidiaz, Seattle Sounders 

Late game-winning drama 

Minnesota United

The most dramatic finish of the weekend came at Allianz Field, where Mason Toye scored a stoppage-time winner and Vito Mannone saved a penalty at the death.

FC Cincinnati 

Fanendo Adi scored in the 83rd minute to hand FC Cincinnati a 2-1 road win in a weather-delayed match with the Chicago Fire

Orlando City 

Benji Michel scored his first MLS goal in the 84th minute on Saturday night to hand Orlando City a 1-0 win over the Columbus Crew

Statistical oddities

Both meetings between Portland and Colorado have featured a red card, own goal and penalty kick. 

Orlando City has put only four shots on target in their two games with the Crew, but three of them, including Michel’s game-winning goal, went into the back of the net. 

LAFC’s most impressive win? 

Jul 12, 2019; Houston, TX, USA; Los Angeles FC forward Diego Rossi (9) celebrates after scoring a goal during the second half against the Houston Dynamo at BBVA Stadium. (Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports)

LAFC was forced to play on Friday night in Houston just two days after it lost in the U.S. Open Cup quarterfinals to the Portland Timbers

While most teams would be stuck in a bind, Bob Bradley’s side went into BBVA Compass Stadium and pulled off a 3-1 victory to extend its lead atop the Supporters’ Shield and Western Conference standings. 

Steven Beitashour and Mark-Anthony Kaye were the ironmen of the squad by playing 90 minutes in each contest. 

LAFC will have more high-profile victories throughout the season, but this one might go down as the most impressive since it rotated most of its squad, played on little rest and controlled sections of the game against a dangerous Houston attack. 

The Brian Rowe late-save experience

Orlando City goalkeeper Brian Rowe came up with a huge save in the 88th minute on Saturday night to preserve the Lions’ one-goal lead. 

The late denial occurred six days after he made a tremendous last-ditch save to keep Orlando’s contest with the Philadelphia Union tied. 

Stock up, stock down 

Stock up: Jefferson Savarino 

Real Salt Lake’s Jefferson Savarino produced two goals and one assist in the 4-0 thumping of Philadelphia at Rio Tinto Stadium on Saturday. 

The 22-year-old Venezuelan, who impressed at the Copa America, now has 18 goals and 18 assists in his three seasons with the Claret and Cobalt. 

The victory combined with losses by Houston and FC Dallas pushed RSL above the red line and into sixth place in the Western Conference. 

Stock up: David Bingham 

Jul 12, 2019; Carson, CA, USA; LA Galaxy goalkeeper David Bingham (1) defends a goal attempt against the San Jose Earthquakes in the first half at Dignity Health Sports Park. The Earthquakes defeated the Galaxy 3-1. (Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports)

David Bingham was the losing goalkeeper in the Cali Clasico on Friday night, but he turned in one of the best individual performances of the weekend with 14 saves. 

Bingham and the LA Galaxy defense faced 32 shots, 16 of which went on target, from the San Jose Earthquakes in a match in which Guillermo Barros Schelotto’s side had the lead for 59 minutes. 

Stock up: Gerso Fernandes

Jul 13, 2019; Vancouver, British Columbia, CAN; Sporting Kansas City midfielder Felipe Gutierrez (21) celebrates his goal with forward Daniel Salloi (20) ad forward Gerso Fernandes (12) and midfielder Yohan Croizet (10) during the second half at BC Place. (Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports)

Gerso Fernandes has been the driving force of Sporting Kansas City’s recent uptick in form. 

Although he didn’t score in Week 18 against Chicago, Gerso was all over the field creating chances. 

In the victory over the Vancouver Whitecaps on Saturday, Gerso scored once, assisted on a goal and forced an own goal out of Ali Adnan. 

Stock Down: Philadelphia

Jul 13, 2019; Sandy, UT, USA; Real Salt Lake players celebrate a goal by midfielder Albert Rusnak (11) against the Philadelphia Union at Rio Tinto Stadium. (Jeff Swinger-USA TODAY Sports)

In the same week in which they gave manager Jim Curtin a two-year contract extension, the Philadelphia Union were completely outplayed by RSL. 

The Union were missing Kai Wagner, Jamiro Monteiro and Ilsinho due to injuries, and they made a plethora of little mistakes that led to goals for the home side at Rio Tinto Stadium.

Philadelphia now has one win in its past five games, but it still holds a four-point advantage over DC United in the Eastern Conference.

Stock down: Montreal 

Jul 13, 2019; Montreal, Quebec, CAN; Montreal Impact forward Anthony Jackson-Hamel (11) kicks the ball and Toronto FC goalkeeper Quentin Westberg (16) defends during the second half at Stade Saputo. (Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports)

Montreal slipped down to fifth place in the Eastern Conference after suffering its third straight loss in the 401 Derby to Toronto FC. 

RemΓ­ Garde’s team has fallen to Atlanta United, Minnesota and Toronto since beating a depleted Portland squad in its first game out of the Concacaf Gold Cup break. 

With Orlando, the New England Revolution, Toronto and NYCFC playing well beneath them, the Impact need to reverse their form as soon as possible to avoid a further slip down the standings. 

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