Lenhart's Return to Quakes Marred by Creative Refereeing
By Tommy Brown
After last weekend's terrible debacle in Houston (notice I did not write an article about it, as the only positive thing that could be written was that Alan Gordon came off the bench), the Earthquakes had a chance at redemption at home. If you decided to only watch the first match, that is exactly what you got, unfortunately, that was not the whole story.
Wondolowski finished a wonderful chance off of an Alan Gordon assist which all stemmed from a poor clearance by Vancouver, but it turned out to not be enough as Vancouver capitalized on a mistake by San Jose, but not in the manner you may have expected.
Both Alan Gordon and Victor Bernardez went off the pitch around the 60th minute to change their boots, presumably due to different pitch conditions, but were not allowed to come back on as referee Fotis Bazakos let Vancouver press. During this 11 v. 9 situation Vancouver capitalized, with Corey Hertzog scoring on a ramshackle San Jose defense.
While furious as it occurred, Frank Yallop mentioned in the post-match that the referee had not let them back on the pitch because the FIFA rule about equipment changes states that the player may not enter until the next stoppage of play. As such, Yallop absolutely refused to blame his players, and said that while even he did not know of the rule, he should have known better.
Still, referee Bazakos seemed to completely lose control as stoppage time rolled on. First, Sam Cronin got entirely upended by Nigel Reo-Coker, and no foul was called, despite it being an identical tackle to one that Mike Fucito had been booked on only minutes earlier. Then, as the game wound down, there seemed to be a blatant handball in the Vancouver box, that even Yallop commented on in the post-match, that went entirely uncalled.
However, these things happen in football, and Cronin hit the post on a wonderful Lenhart flick late in the match that would have sealed it, and as well as Cronin has played all season, it should have been buried and sent the game away.