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Controversial penalty helps Earthquakes complete comeback to top Rapids

QuakesRapids (Getty)

Alan Gordon has made a habit of pulling off late-game heroics to salvage valuable points for the San Jose Earthquakes. He did it again on Wednesday, only he did so in a manner that might come back to haunt him.

Gordon scored an 84th minute equalizer against the Colorado Rapids on Wednesday night, but it was what he did in the dying seconds of regulation that left the Rapids irate and the Earthquakes celebrating another late comeback.

Gordon raced into the penalty for one last charge, and when Matt Pickens made a play for the ball, Gordon crumpled to the ground as if he had been fouled, though replays showed there was no contact from Pickens. That didn't stop referee Storin Stoica from pointing to the penalty spot and giving the Earthquakes a stoppage-time penalty. Chris Wondolowski buried the PK to give San Jose a 2-1 victory.

The late rally helped negate a first-half goal by Brian Mullan. The Rapids looked like they would hold on to the shutout victory when Gordon re-directed a cross into the net.

Here are the match highlights:


What did you think of the match? Do you think Gordon dove, or do you think the penalty call was legit?

Share your thoughts below.






  1. Replay from behind the Rapids’ goal shows Gordon at best being clumsy by tripping on his own account, at worst diving.

    The same replay also shows where the CR is – almost directly behind the play trying to get to a better angle. From where he is, it is reasonable to conclude that Pickens contacts Gordon’s foot resulting in a trip and a correct PK call. Unfortunately, the problem occurs too far away from the AR. If the problem occurs closer to the AR, the CR can consult with the AR to make the call.

    I don’t fault the ref – but I do think MLS needs to take a look and possibly discipline Gordon.

  2. What bizarre definition of “objective” is this??
    Rapids fan in Denver at a Rapids game things Rapids had a call go against them, thanks for the objective opinion!

  3. 6:00 minute mark, maximize the video on your computer screen, clearly a dive. The way Gordon falls has nothing to do with the non-contact Pickens made.

    Also, I think it is worth saying that Pickens is the best goalkeeper in MLS right now. SJ could have been up one or two goals already at the time of Gordon’s dive if not for a series of great saves by Pickens. His save on Lenhart’s header in the first half was ridiculous.

  4. The HD slow-motion cameras are very expensive, even just to rent them. It’s one thing to use them in a multi-national tournament viewed by millions all over the world, and another thing to use them for a broadcast that may be viewed by 10,000 in local broadcasts and maybe another 5,000 on cable/satellite subscriptions that sell for $70 for the entire season.

  5. Always nice to get the objective opinion of an eyewitness at the game 🙂 Hopefully you will be able to catch some Rapids games on the road.

  6. MLS needs to step up and review all questionable dives after each game and issue players yellow cards for bad dives. These yellow cards would then be carried to the next game. No question, SJ were the better team last night and deserved to win but not on bad a dive like that. Bad dives just ruins the validity of the sport and needs to be removed from soccer altogether.

  7. Looks like he barely touched him, but just enough that it could cause Gordon to lose his balance. Doesn’t look like Pickens even got a glove on the ball, as Gordon was already kicking it trying to go around the goalkeeper, and instead his hand got the top of Gordon’s foot as he was trying to dribble by. Definitely a soft penalty, but it doesn’t look like a dive.

  8. I was 10 rows back and right in front of the play, and it was a complete dive. His first touch sucked and he lost the scoring opportunity, so he flopped when Pickens dove for the ball. If there was any contact, it was not enough to merit a PK.
    And what really sucks, is that was my last Rapids home game, as my family is moving away from denver at the end of the month.

  9. One thing about the Euros–they have lots of really good ultra-slow-motion close-ups. Why can’t they do that for MLS coverage?

  10. Thoughts from a neutral:

    1. Can’t tell on the penalty. It looks soft but it will be tough to award discipline as the camera angles don’t show anything definitively.

    2. Pickens made some monster saves

    3. On SJ’s first goal, the color guy said “Optimistic” on Gordon’s clean-up of the rebound. He said it three times. I think he meant “Opportunistic”.

    4. Same color guy sounded positively morose when the penalty was awarded and then when it went in. Good hometown color.

  11. There was contact and it was clearly a penalty. Just because the TV camera angles didn’t capture it properly doesn’t mean it was a dive.

  12. The league should not give San Jose any penalties at all for the next month just to even out the number of ridiculous penalties they’ve been given this year.

  13. certainly looks like pickens grabs gordon’s right shin/leg to me… bit soft but definitely contact and not a dive

  14. Seemed a clear dive to me. Hopefully the disciplinary committee sees it that clearly and gives him the now standard fine and suspension. (And I’m not a Colorado or RSL — SJ’s next opponent — fan).


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