ORLANDO, Fla. — Orlando Pride coach Marc Skinner took a seat for his postgame press conference and was about to voice his displeasure once again with the NWSL referees.
He was animated, pounding his hand on the table several times and was livid with referee Malik Badawi’s decision not to award a penalty to Orlando in the 65th minute.
Forward Claire Emslie collided with Utah goalkeeper Nicole Barnhart in the penalty area.
Instead of Badawi awarding a potential penalty to Orlando, he determined Emslie was at fault and whistled her for a foul and a Utah free kick.
Skinner said he saw the replay of the collision and said the Pride should have been awarded a penalty and Barnhart should have been given a red card for a denial of a goal-scoring opportunity.
“I’m sick of that. That’s not good enough,” Skinner said. “If I’m judged on my job, they should be judged on their job.”
During the Pride’s 1-0 loss to the Houston Dash last week, Kristen Edmonds was called for a penalty, which led to the Rachel Daly netting the spot kick. The NWSL reviewed the play and determined a penalty should have been awarded to the Pride.
Following Saturday’s game, Skinner went to the referees and around midfield to try and speak to them about the decision. Skinner got heated and Utah Royals FC coach Laura Harvey got in-between Skinner and the refs and pulled Skinner away.
Skinner added he’s known Harvey for numerous years and she told him he was in a lose/lose situation if he continued to argue right after the final whistle. She tried to calm him down.
Skinner said he was incensed at the decision and questioned why Badawi did not listen to him or anyone else.
“I’ve just gone to ask the referee about the decision and was just gesturing my hand to say, ‘What was that?’ and he told me to put my hands down using his hand otherwise he won’t talk to me,” Skinner recalled of the conversation with the ref. “I don’t know where the fairness is. I’m not talking about him in a personal stance, I’m talking about the decisions he has to make are incorrect and that for me ruined the game. It ruined the game for my perspective.”
Skinner’s rant marked the second consecutive week someone from the Orlando Pride has criticized either the referees, the NWSL or both in a postgame setting.
Defender Ali Krieger said after a 1-0 loss to the Houston Dash last week that the league continues to put out a good product on the field with players, but the referees have fallen behind. She begged that the NWSL evaluate the refs and hold them to a higher standard.
Skinner echoed those statements after the loss to Utah. He suggested referees go to training sessions to improve.
“When you ask [referees] about the evidence [of a foul, they say,] ‘You can’t talk to me,'” Skinner said. “I can’t talk because I’m passionate about my team just losing on a decision? I can be passionate. It doesn’t mean I want to fight you. I just want to be passionate and explain what you saw, but it’s too easy to [wave] me off and write a report and say ‘Oh yeah, next week it shouldn’t have been [a penalty].’
“That’s not good enough. … It’s just ridiculous and I don’t have the answer. I’ll sit with people but they better want to be open about the conversations. I hope something happens because I’m sick of it.”