Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Late Penalty Kick Costs Whitecaps in 2-1 Playoff Loss to FC Dallas

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Late Penalty Kick Costs Whitecaps in 2-1 Playoff Loss to FC Dallas

Article excerpt

Late penalty kick costs Whitecaps playoff game

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FRISCO, Texas - A late penalty-kick goal created by a controversial handball call brought the Vancouver Whitecaps' season to a frustrating end.

Midfielder Michel stutter-stepped and slid his unmolested shot into the left side of the net in the 84th minute as Vancouver goalkeeper David Ousted dived in the other direction to give FC Dallas a 2-1 victory in the knockout round of Major League Soccer's Western Conference playoffs Wednesday night.

Dallas (17-12-6) will face Seattle in the two-game conference semifinal.

The loss ended the Whitecaps' five-game unbeaten streak and closed out a season in which Vancouver (12-9-14) advanced to the post-season for the second time in its MLS history. The club has now lost all six of its games at FC Dallas's Toyota Stadium.

This one just hurt more than the others.

"It was a big decision given the magnitude of the game," defender Andy O'Brien said. "But these are things that happen.

"The game kicks you between the legs sometimes, and that's how it feels tonight."

The most painful kick came from referee Mark Geiger, who awarded a penalty when a bouncing ball in the Vancouver box barely glanced off the right arm of Kendall Waston as the Whitecaps defender tried to put his hands behind his back. The Vancouver players protested vehemently, but the call stood.

"Waston deliberately handled the ball, hence the PK was called," Geiger said.

Waston disagreed with the "deliberate" part.

"I tried to put my hand on the back of my body and the ball hit me," he said. "That's different than putting your hand on the ball. But that was the decision of the referee. I respect it, but I don't approve it."

The Whitecaps had extended their shutout streak to 432 minutes -- surpassing a run of 427 minutes in 2012 as the longest in club history -- before watching that streak disappear in the 40th minute thanks to FC Dallas's surprise starter. …

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