The Major Indoor Soccer League acknowledged yesterday that officials made an incorrect call in the Blast's 16-14 overtime loss in Philadelphia on Saturday but turned down the Baltimore team's protest that was filed Monday.
"On behalf of the MISL, I wish to apologize to the Baltimore Blast organization, its players, coaches and fans for the erroneous call made during the team's match vs. Philadelphia," MISL commissioner Steve Ryan said in a written release.
"As unfortunate as this situation happens to be, we cannot go back and change history. At the same time, our referees and officials need to be held accountable for their actions and be aware of the significant role they play in the game."
Officials assessed Blast defender Sean Bowers a two-minute penalty - making the team play short-handed - for accumulating his second foul in the first 15-minute overtime period. On the ensuing power play, the KiXX scored the game-winning goal.
Rules, however, state that overtime should be treated the same way as regulation play, with any player accumulating four fouls in one half (30 minutes) being assessed a two-minute penalty, not two fouls in an overtime period.
The decision upset Blast general manger/coach Kevin Healey, who said the team's argument was strong in an unprecedented case.
"I care too much about the integrity of the game, and this ruling goes against that," he said. "But no other sport made up a rule in the middle of the game - this didn't happen anywhere else. This is like basketball saying today it was decided that five fouls is a one-and-one [from the free-throw line]."
Healey said the matter could have been resolved easily - and could have been an opportunity for Ryan to send a clear message.
"The right thing to do would be to start the game in overtime the next time we go up to Philadelphia, complete the game, take some time off, and then play the [scheduled] game," he said. "I am shocked, I am surprised [Ryan] didn't do it, and I'm extremely disappointed."