Thievery. Robbery. A mugging.
The crime rate is high in Morelia, and that doesn’t stop from extending onto the soccer fields there.
Estadio Morelos was site of one of the biggest non-violent crimes in Morelia’s recent history. On Tuesday, the Galaxy had a goal and a victory stolen from them.
With the match tied 1-1 in the 90th minute, Omar Gonzalez smashed a header on goal. Morelia’s Federico Vilar made the save but the ball remained on the goal line. Robbie Keane raced onto it, pushed it into the back of the net and appeared to have given the Galaxy the victory.
But somehow the goal did not stand. Honduran assistant referee Oscar Velasquez raised his flag just as Keane raced away from the goal to celebrate.
Absolute thievery. Total robbery. An atrocious mugging.
Moments later, Miguel Sabah scored the game-winner and the Galaxy walked away empty handed.
The replays show clearly that Keane was at least a yard onside when Gonzalez made contact. Keane passed the last defender sometime after the ball past him. When the ball fell on top of the goal line, Keane was already there.
But that’s because he’s quick and has great instincts, not because he was offside. Perhaps that’s the biggest problem. Velasquez referees the Honduran league, which is not a highly-regarded league in CONCACAF. Mexico is, of course. MLS is getting there. MLS does have top talents such as Keane and perhaps Velasquez is unable to decipher between what a talented goalscorer and what a player who is poaching offside looks like.
Whatever the case is, the Galaxy lost a game they should have won. Stolen from them. Taken right away from them.
It’s a shame really, not just that it happened to the Galaxy but that this happens all the time in this tournament. It’s almost like it’s a requirement to have things like this happen in the CONCACAF Champions League.
It seems that no matter what Champions League game you watch, you almost expect something bad to happen. You expect the game to go to hell in a matter of minutes. Bad calls are as much a part of the game as set pieces. So when the flag was raised and Keane’s goal was harshly called back, it really wasn’t a surprise to anybody.
Anger? Sure, but nobody was surprised.
And that’s the real shame.