Whitecaps move on from controversial call
Columbus Crew forward Jairo Arrieta (19) sends a pass between Vancouver Whitecaps defender Jay DeMerit (6) and midfielder Matias Laba (15) at Crew Stadium. Vancouver won the game 1-0, May 10, 2014; Columbus, OH. (PHOTO: GREG BARTRAM /USA TODAY SPORTS)
Jay DeMerit has seen the replay several times now and he wouldn't do anything different — even though it was a play that led to the equalizing penalty kick goal on Saturday.
With his team up 2-1 in the 82nd minute, the Vancouver Whitecaps captain was called for a foul in the box against Seattle Sounders' Cam Weaver, one where they were both jumping for the ball.
The call against DeMerit by referee Ismail Elfath was questionable — which may be a more restrained way of describing it — and it cost the Whitecaps an important two points as they finished with a 2-2 result against their Cascadia rivals.
"Everyone saw what happened but for me to not only get support from the club but from my teammates and from the fans as well, it makes you feel a little bit better about it," DeMerit said. "If I don't go up and win that ball, then I'm not doing my job. I have as much a right as anybody to go and win that ball in the box, and when you do that in a fair and physical manner, and to get punished for it, it's disappointing."
His teammates were cautious when talking about the call, and not willing to express what they really thought about it — and for good reason, of course.
The consensus is that bad calls often get made — some more game-changing than others — and it's time to move onto their next challenge which comes in the form of another close rival.
The Whitecaps, with their five-game unbeaten streak in tow, travel to Portland this weekend to face the Timbers on Sunday.
For head coach Carl Robinson, he knows there can be motivation taken from what happened late in last Saturday's match.
"It might not be a bad thing, it just keeps us a little bit grounded," Robinson said of the controversial call and ending. "It'll bring us closer together because sometimes when things don't go your way, you get stronger as a group and hopefully that will happen here."
The Timbers struggled for the first two months of this season, and only recently have gotten some good results — winning two of their last four games. They sit second last in the Western Conference with a 2-3-7 record, but none of that matters, says the Whitecaps.
"Everyone knows in these Cascadia games, you got to throw the records out," DeMerit said. "Everyone is excited to be there … and we expect a tough, physical game and a rowdy crowd and a good battle."