SANDY, UT (KR) — Maurice Edu sat with multiple teammates huddled around him, his smartphone illuminating their faces as it replayed the late penalty call that went against him. The group watched numerous times, none of which changed the general consensus of the decision.
“On the field there’s no way it could be a penalty kick,” Edu said to Kessler Reports and Chris Winkler, the Philadelphia Union press officer. “[Mulholland] cut inside, and basically I was facing [the other] direction. I turned the other way and went to body him off the ball. Michael Lahoud was right there to win the ball anyway.
What happened next would rip a win away from the Union on the road against one of Major League Soccer’s best franchises.
“[Mulholland] went down easy,” Edu said. “I don’t know in what game you’d call that a penalty kick.”
Jim Curtin, Philadelphia’s head coach, agreed with Edu during his post-game press conference. Prior to calmly meeting with the media, the typically reserved former defender demonstrated his frustration as he animatedly stormed down the hallway into the locker room.
“Last week I got a call from… PRO,” Curtin said, “that they missed a penalty kick. The ref wound up suspended and I think it might be a similar situation tonight.”
Allen Chapman, who refereed Saturday night’s Union-Real Salt Lake game remained on PRO’s schedule for the third week of MLS play.
Edu, for his part, empathized with his teammates, who he felt had done enough to come away with the win.
“It’s harsh for us,” Edu said. “We have a locker room full of guys who worked their asses off that game and put in a great shift. On another day we get three points from that game. Today we feel a little bit hard done, but all we can do is keep our heads up and focus on the next game now.”
As the team captain, Edu has a large job ahead of Friday night’s home game against FC Dallas. The midfielder has to keep the locker room atmosphere upbeat in the face of two straight games, to open the season, ending in ties due to controversial referee decisions.
Edu thinks that the first team squad has the right frame of mind heading into its next match.
“We’re a positive group,” Edu said. “We believe in our abilities as a group capable of going out there and beating any team on any given day. Today we showed that. As a team there’s only so much we can control.
We were disappointed with the goals we gave up, but in saying that, we scored three good goals and on another we win that game.”
The Union will get their third chance at their first win of the 2015 MLS season (0-0-2, two points) against FC Dallas (2-0-0, six points) look up the record at PPL Park on Friday (7 pm EDT, national broadcast on UniMas).