Frank Klopas may be pleased by the Montreal Impact's 1-1 draw at Club America on Wednesday, but the coach feels the result could have been even better were it not for some suspect officiating.
With the Impact leading late in the first half of the CONCACAF Champions League final first leg, Montreal forward Dominic Oduro found himself in alone on the opposing goalkeeper — before being tugged to the turf from behind by America midfielder Osvaldo Martinez.
The referee called the foul, but only gave Martinez a yellow card — not a red card for denial of a clear goal-scoring opportunity.
Martinez would exit the match at halftime. His replacement, striker Oribe Peralta, then headed home America's 89th-minute equalizer.
"For me, it was incredible that again, in a game like this in a final, instead of the players having to dictate the game and the fans enjoying the game, we have to talk about the referees," Klopas told reporters. "We're in the 44th minute, clearly a breakaway that's not called for a red card.
"I don't know how it's a yellow card when we have a player going one on one in on goal and he gets taken from behind. For me, I just want the refs to call a fair game and let the game be decided on the field by the players. That's all we ask for."
Klopas also was frustrated by a mysterious late yellow card to Evan Bush that, barring a successful appeal, will see the Impact goalkeeper suspended for next week's second leg in Montreal.
"There is a goalkeeper in the box — the referee has to protect him," Klopas said. "He gets pushed down, he gets a yellow card."