All footballers try to gain whatever advantage they can in a match, and the referee is supposed to keep players from getting away with too much. On Tuesday night at Toyota Park, Marco Pappa gained a big advantage and the referee just let it go. The result was a 2-1 win for the Chicago Fire and an irate FC Dallas.
With the match tied at 1-1, Carlos Rodriguez gave away a penalty, taken by Sebastian Grazzini. Grazzini lined it up and hit it hard, but Kevin Hartman made the save. The rebound came right in front of the Dallas goal, though, and Papa came racing in ahead of everyone else to knock it in for what would prove to be the winning goal.
Right away, Dallas was yelling at the referee, claiming that Pappa was in the box, and boy, were they right. At the time Grazzini kicked his penalty, Pappa was at least four yards into the box, but the referee missed it and what would prove to be the winning goal stood.
Early on Dallas had control of the match, and Matt Hedges made it count with the opening goal. Blas Perez met a corner kick with a tremendous header that forced a save from Sean Johnson, but the rebound fell to Hedges, who headed home to give the visitors a lead.
Grazzini drew Chicago even just before halftime with a beauty of a strike from more than 20 yards. The Argentine cut in and curled a gorgeous shot around Hartman and into the upper corner for the equalizer.
The goals weren't all of the excitement, though. Just after halftime Dominic Oduro gave away a penalty, but Johnson saved Perez's penalty. That goal kept Chicago level and allowed Pappa's sanctioned or unseen cheating to win it late on.