TKC Ends a Three-Match Stretch in Controversy

Over the past week, The King’s College men’s soccer team had a rigorous three-game stretch of matches over the course of five days, a tough ask for any team.

 Photo by Wes Parnell

Photo by Wes Parnell

After handily defeating Webb College 9-0 on Wednesday, King’s had their fitness put to the test as they played went into extra time en route to a 3-3 draw against the College of Saint Elizabeth.

On short rest and tired legs, King’s headed into their final match of the three-game stretch on Sunday against conference rivals Vaughn College, in what was the worst officiated match this soccer journalist has ever seen.

Midway through the first half, King’s found themselves on the top of their opponents box in prime position to score. At that moment, a Vaughn midfielder, who was standing still in that area, dropped to the ground. The referee did not stop play, and King’s went on to slot the ball in the back of the net to break the deadlock.

But, after King’s scored, the referee decided to call off the goal. Why? I would tell you to ask the referee, but it is likely he doesn’t even know why.

If a referee wants to stop the match, they must blow the whistle. That never occurred. Furthermore, the Vaughn player went down, despite having no sign of injury or physical contact with another player, right before King’s entered into the box.

Gamesmanship? Most likely, as the player then went on to “go down injured” four times throughout the remainder of the match along with many other players in what seemed to be planned method to waste time waste and recover energy. Nevertheless, King’s legitimately was robbed of a goal. Ten minutes later, they found themselves down a goal following a long-range strike by, guess who, the player who went down “injured.”

That blasphemous disallowed goal call wasn’t the only bad break King’s got in the first half. With a minute remaining in the half, King’s found themselves inside the Vaughn 18-yard box. After a King’s player got knocked down in the box, the referee blew his whistle for the first time following the opening kickoff.

But, a penalty kick, the compensation an attacking team gets for getting fouled in the opponent’s box, was not given. An indirect free kick was given instead, a call that only occurs when a goalkeeper handles a ball that his teammate passed to him.

Frustrating? That’s an understatement. Troubling? Still an understatement. Appaulling and juvenile? Getting warmer.

In the second half, the referee continued to dictate the game by not using his whistle correctly. Fouls occurred on both sides of the ball, and no whistle was to be heard, leading the play to become even more physical and dangerous.

King’s outplayed Vaughn in the second half but could notcouldn’t earn a result. Vaughn added a second goal later on in the half following a goal from King’s forward Pedro Gallaga, 21’, a few minutes following the second half kick-off to earn a 2-1 victory.

Could King’s have played better throughout the match? Most certainly. Tired legs got the better of the team and half-hearted defending and pressing became the theme as the game progressed.

“We need to work on little things,” captain Craig Wishart, 20’, said following the match. “We have outplayed everyone, but have 10 minutes lapse in play every match where we concede goals.”

 Photo by Wes Parnell

Photo by Wes Parnell

Wishart hit the nail on the head with that comment, as King’s does indeed lose focus in short spurts. Those spurts lead to opponent’s scoring goals which take away points from King’s, who could be sitting second in the HVIAC right now if those lapses didn’t occur.

Now looking at the bigger picture, King’s deserved more than a one-goal loss on Sunday. Head coach Tom Harmon doesn’t like to make excuses for his team losing or being at a disadvantage. If he ever wanted to start, Sunday’s match would have been the perfect place to do so.

Spineless refereeing attached at the hip with an ignorance of the FIFA Laws of the Game cost King’s at least a point on Sunday. Never in my time as a soccer journalist, or even as a referee when I was younger, have I seen as miserable of a refereeing performance.

Though King’s could have played better on Sunday, it was a preposterous display by the center referee that took away a point(s) from the King’s College men’s soccer team.