After watching D.C. United lose for the second time this season because of controversial officiating, General Manager Kevin Payne said yesterday he does not plan to contest his team's 2-1 loss to the Los Angeles Galaxy but would make his disappointment known to league officials.
With less than 10 seconds left and the score tied at 1 Saturday night, United midfielder Geoff Aunger pulled down the Galaxy's Simon Elliott in front of United's net. Los Angeles' Mauricio Cienfuegos was awarded a free kick, and Kermit Quisenberry, a fifth official assigned to the game, stopped the clock with six seconds left. Cienfuegos buried the kick past United goalkeeper Tom Presthus and Los Angeles left RFK Stadium with the victory.
After the game, senior assistant referee Nate Clement said the clock was stopped because United players were "delaying the restart of the game." Quisenberry made the decision to stop the clock without a signal from referee Baojie Sun. Because Sun is a guest referee from China who was unfamiliar with MLS's clock-stopping rules, the responsibility for stopping the clock had been given to Quisenberry.
Payne said yesterday that United players didn't have the chance to delay the game, even if they had wanted to, because the "clock was stopped within a second of the infraction."
"There's no way we were trying to delay the game," Presthus said. "If we were, we would have gone after the ball and tried to knock it out of the way. If you look at it, no one was even watching the clock. . . . [Sun] didn't signal for the clock to stop."
According to MLS rules, the clock is not stopped in the last minute unless a player is injured, a substitution is made or a goal is scored. The clock did not stop after Cienfuegos's goal.
"I know it's unlikely that we would have scored," Payne said. "But the point is why it wasn't stopped after Los Angeles scored?
"I'm obviously a little disappointed. I think it's pretty clear when to stop the clock in the last 10 minutes of a half. A fifth official, who isn't even a referee in our league, made the decision."
MLS has occasionally used visiting referees from other countries and in those cases a fifth official is added so that the referee doesn't have to run a shootout, which only MLS employs.
Payne, who was fined $15,000 last month for making critical comments about a visiting referee who issued 10 yellow cards and ejected three players in United's 3-2 loss to Chicago, ran onto the field after the game to have words with Quisenberry but said yesterday he was resigned to the loss, which dropped United to 10-5.
"There's nothing we can do," he said. "We're all frustrated at this point. We'll move on, though. We're trying not to be obsessed with it."
WIZARDS 6, METROSTARS 0: Chris Brown scored two goals and Chris Henderson tied a Major League Soccer record with four assists as Kansas City routed visiting New York/New Jersey.
Kansas City (3-10), which drew just 6,190, won consecutive games for the first time since last July and had its largest victory margin in team history. It was the first time the MetroStars (4-9) ever gave up six goals.
Brown scored in the fifth and 54th minutes. Chris Klein, Mo Johnston, Preki Radosavljevic and Francisco Gomez also scored, with Gomez converting a penalty kick.
The Wizards extended their shutout streak to 206 consecutive minutes.
CAPTION: United's Ben Olsen fights off Galaxy's Steve Jolley, right, during Saturday night's loss. United GM Kevin Payne said he would not contest the defeat.