Sounders coach Sigi Schmid and general manager Adrian Hanauer were both unhappy with the work of referee Ricardo Salazar tonight, as the Seattle lost the U.S. Open Cup to Kansas City on penalty kicks.
“Congratulations to Kansas City for winning the championship,” Schmid said. “I think their players battled and fought hard. I think it was difficult for us. It was our third game in six days, so I thought just a little bit of sharpness was missing. And then it’s difficult: You’re playing against a team at home, so I think their crowd helps them; and then when you’re playing against the referee as well – and I thought he made some absolutely ridiculous calls – it’s very tough to win.”
Schmid listed three main complaints: a handball-in-the-box call that led to Kansas City’s 1-0 lead in regulation, a shootout save by Michael Gspurning that was waved off for leaving his line too early, and a 5-0 disparity in yellow cards, including two on Patrick Ianni, which send him off in the 118th minute.
“I’m proud of our guys,” Hanauer said. “They battled continuously through obstacles, and obviously we feel like we don’t deserve to be the losers tonight. But the referee decided to some degree that was going to be the case. That’s the way it goes. We’ll all lick out wounds and focus on the rest of the season and try to make the playoffs.”
Hanauer also had sounded skeptical last month when U.S. Soccer awarded the game to Kansas City, after what it called an equal (secret) bid to Seattle and had won a (secret) coin toss.
Hanauer was asked tonight if he is absolutely certain that KC got the final fairly.
“I have no idea,” he said. “That’s what we were told. I don’t see those bids and I didn’t see the coin get flipped. I have no idea. I would hope that it was absolutely legitimately decided. But I don’t know that for a fact.”