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.
— Dylan Butler (@Dylan_Butler) July 15, 2019
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.
— FOX Soccer (@FOXSoccer) July 15, 2019
The NYCFC players and coaching staff were incensed with the decision, and after the final whistle, they let their opinions loose.
#NYCFC captain Alex Ring, representing the opinion of his teammates after disputed GW goal: “He (referee Alan Kelly) has to look in the mirror and be brutally honest because he cost us the points today.” #NYDerby #HudsonRiverDerby @NYCFC #RBNY
— Glenn Crooks (@GlennCrooks) July 15, 2019
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
— Toronto FC (@TorontoFC) July 14, 2019
Quincy Amarikwa, DC United
— Major League Soccer (@MLS) July 13, 2019
Sam Nicholson, Colorado Rapids
— Major League Soccer (@MLS) July 14, 2019
Goal of the Year candidate
Raul Ruidiaz, Seattle Sounders
"A piece of perfection from the Peruvian!"@RaulRuidiazM bags his seventh goal of the season 😍
— Seattle Sounders FC (@SoundersFC) July 14, 2019
Late game-winning drama
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.
… until a go-ahead goal and game-saving penalty sealed it 🤯 pic.twitter.com/Z5w6ewtvH1
— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) July 14, 2019
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.
.@fanendo scored his first goal of the season & it proved to be the game-winner tonight!! 👏👏
— FC Cincinnati (@fccincinnati) July 14, 2019
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.
The first career MLS goal for @AlmightBenji!
— Orlando City SC (@OrlandoCitySC) July 14, 2019
Both meetings between Portland and Colorado have featured a red card, own goal and penalty kick.
Four times this season an MLS game has had a red card, an own goal, and a penalty kick.
COL at POR tonight
HOU at COL March 30
PHI at SKC March 10
POR at COL March 2#RCTID
— Mike Donovan (@TheMikeDonovan) July 14, 2019
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?
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.
88' | 👊 @ROWE_BRIAN_ 👊
— Orlando City SC (@OrlandoCitySC) July 14, 2019
The late denial occurred six days after he made a tremendous last-ditch save to keep Orlando’s contest with the Philadelphia Union tied.
— Orlando City SC (@OrlandoCitySC) July 8, 2019
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.
What a shot!
Jefferson Savarino with the soft touch and the strong finish!
— ESPN 700 (@ESPN700) July 14, 2019
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
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.
Stock up: Gerso Fernandes
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
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
Montreal slipped down to fifth place in the Eastern Conference after suffering its third straight loss in the 401 Derby to Toronto FC.
Remí 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.