After the Houston Dynamo lost the first leg of the Conference final 2-0 to the Seattle Sounders, I sat down with referee Chris Penso to find out what happened and why he lied.
The game was a gift given to the Sounders with the penalty and red card that was not only a bad call but not even reviewed with the instant replay and the calls against Seattle not given I needed to get to the bottom of the truth behind the situation so I sat down with head referee Chris Penso to ask the tough questions.
Me: After the Penalty and Red Card that was called early in the game, how did you justify the call?
Penso: Well, I was going to give it for last man foul but the voices in my ear told me that if I did that then I wouldn’t be able to give the red card and they needed the red card to ensure that the Dynamo would not only be shorthanded but loose, so they said I had to say it was a foul with using his hands.
Me: And you didn’t check the replay because..
Penso: .because they knew he wasn’t pulled down and said if I watched it I would have to overturn the call because it was too obvious a dive and that would ruin the necessary red card.
Me: So who was it that was telling you these things in your ear?
Penso: It was an MLS league official. I was told in a top secret pre-game meeting that Seattle needed to make it to the finals.
Penso: All I was told was that Seattle and was set to be in the final because of the money they were going to make. I mean they didn’t even tell me, I over heard the MLS official on the phone telling someone how much they were going to be making with them in the finals.
I showed him this photo;
asking if this was the man in his ear and he shook his head yes and said, “That’s when he told The Dynamo’s coach that they couldn’t win and how sorry he was but it was already decided the decision came from higher ups, over his head.”
I knew he was telling me the truth because after they spoke Wilmer Cabrera was, well a picture says a thousand words!
Me: You said, “them in the finals.” Did you hear which other team was going to the finals?
Penso: Yes well obviously it was supposed to be a repeat of last year Seattle vs Toronto it’s just nobody expected Columbus to hold them the way they have or they would have given the ref a bonus in the first round like I got because everyone knew Houston was going to beat Seattle unless it was fixed, but like I said no one expected Columbus to step up.
I later called Chris to follow up during the second leg of Columbus/Toronto and he said he hadn’t heard but was almost sure that Elfath had been given the ref bonus because they were worried about Columbus now.
Me: Why did you take the Money, why would you choose to be involved in that coruption?
Penso: Look, it’s not anything new and fixing games changing scenarios is something that has been done since the beginning of sports. I work my butt off and get treated like crap, I have my life threatened, I get things thrown at me constantly! and they boo me when I follow the rules because they don’t like a call? Well I deserve something extra for dealing with those people. Plus I heard that Fotis got a boat and I wanted one.
So here we are, back where I started during the Open Cup and let’s be real since there were games to bet on tthere’s been someone out fixing it. No one is held accountable and will they ever be?
And regardless we still watch, we still root for our teams and route against teams that we hate because that’s what fans do.
Disclaimer: This story is in no way accurate, factual or ever in any way connected to MLS, the U.S. Soccer Referees Association, US Soccer, The Professional Referee Organization or any individuals mentioned in this article/ post. It is meant for entertainment purposes only and it is purely fictional and the brain hallucination of my satirical mind and has no base in reality.