CARSON -- Let's make one thing clear: It wasn't referee Jair Marrufo who cost the Galaxy a victory Wednesday night, when the San Jose Earthquakes rallied from a two-goal deficit for a 3-2 Major League Soccer victory at Home Depot Center.
He just didn't help.
That's what the Galaxy thinks anyway, after a red card to Hector Jimenez and a penalty kick after a hand ball in the box by David Beckham helped fuel the Quakes' comeback.
Everyone agrees that Jimenez's red card was fair. And so, perhaps, was the penalty kick Khari Stephenson converted to tie the score in the 82nd minute. But head coach Bruce Arena noted in his postgame news conference that Marrufo “didn't call anything on their strikers all night” and that the referee's failure to award the Galaxy a penalty kick after San Jose defender Ike Opara handled the ball in his box after falling to the ground, was egregious.
“I'm told,” Arena said, “their hand ball in the first half is not a hand ball, even though he basically got both hands on the ball. What can you say?”
Beckham was more direct in his criticism.
“Unfortunately, we had someone in control of the game tonight that, every time we've had him, he wants to be the star, and that's what happens when you have a referee who wants to be on 'SportsCenter,' ” he said. "That was disappointing.
“Maybe the decision for the sending off, maybe it was. The penalty? Maybe it was. ... I just turned my back, and my arms were as close to me as they could be. They weren't outstretched -- yeah, it hit my hand, but it could have gone either way. [Opara] falls on the ball in the penalty area, rolls over it a couple of times, touches it with his hand a couple of times. Everyone else sees it apart from the 'star.' ”
Strong words, and they'll probably cost Beckham a few dollars once the league gets wind of them. Oh, well. He can afford it.