Atlanta United head coach Gonzalo Pineda questioned the officiating in his side’s 3-2 loss to Philadelphia Union, claiming his team must ‘earn the respect’ to get the same refereeing decisions as opposing sides.
The box score will show that Philadelphia got out to a quick 3-0 lead at the end of the first half, as goals from Daniel Gazdag, Mikael Uhre and Julian Carranza put the 2022 MLS Cup finalists in front. But numbers dont tell the whole story.
Atlanta’s Brooks Lennon sent in a cross from just outside the box, striking Union defender Nathan Harriel’s hand in his own penalty area — which Pineda thought was clear for all to see.
“I want to talk to the PRO Referees here and ask them how we have to earn the respect from them to get the calls. Today, there should have been three PKs, only one was called. Against us against Miami, a handball for (Luis) Abram that hits the left hand here in the chest and after that the rebound comes to the arm, it’s called a penalty kick,” Pineda said after the game.
“Today, in the first half, before they scored the three goals, it should have been called a penalty kick,” he added. “So, if Jim Curtin talked before the game about handballs and he talked about no one knows what handball is anymore, and then they get the calls, they get the advantage because of that.”
The former Seattle Sounders assistant continued to show his frustration with the refereeing as he referred to the situation with Lennon’s cross in the first 45.
“Then in the first half, Brooks Lennon crosses from the prime assist zone and it’s not called a penalty,” Pineda said. “Do I need to talk before every game about the referees not giving us calls? What else do we need to do?”
Pineda believes that this isn’t the first time that the referee, Alex Chilowicz, missed the opportunity to call a penalty kick in favor of his team.
“We have to earn the respect. Today, Alex Chilowicz, I have a bad memory so I don’t have the right stats in front of me, but it feels like most of the times we get controversial calls from him go against us. It might be coincidence, but my recollection is that we lose more often with him than not,” he said again.
“Last game I recall that he refereed us was against Red Bulls at home and there was a horrible tackle against Brad Guzan that should have been a straight red card and he didn’t do it. It was a horrible tackle into the knee of the goalkeeper and no red card was given. It feels like it is controversial, and normally the calls from Alex go against us. What else we need to do to earn the respect?”
Earlier this season, after Atlanta’s 1-1 draw with New York City FC at Yankee Stadium, Pineda had similar remarks about officiating in MLS.
“I’m very upset with the way Drew [Fischer] carried on with the game … Again, we need to earn respect from the referees and the league. We need to win more games and we need to win more trophies because we don’t have the respect. I am very very upset with the way they (referees) managed the game.”
The Five Stripes are back in action on October 7 for a huge Eastern Conference clash with Columbus Crew at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
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