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Was Cristian Pavón robbed of a penalty vs. the Whitecaps?

That’s gonna be a yes.

MLS: Sporting Kansas City at LA Galaxy Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

This is maddening.

Early in the first half, Cristian Pavon’s intricate feet inside the box earned a penalty kick as Brett Levis clearly clipped the LA Galaxy attacker. Pavon actually leaped in pain before hitting the turf and grabbing his foot.

A competent official would blow the whistle to signal a penalty or issue a yellow for diving, but that’s not the MLS standard so Alan Kelly waved play on. (H/t to Chris for the clip)

Let’s be clear: When it was discovered the Galaxy were dead last in fouls suffered, though the stat was concerning our gut reaction was “This makes sense”. LA were predictable in attack and easy to defend, hence the lack of fouls.

In the past six weeks Guillermo Barros Schelotto’s team are a considerably more dynamic unit. Pavon’s arrival has supercharged the attack and the calls should reflect as much. Sunday afternoon Kelly and the VAR officials blew an easy call.

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Heading into the final week of the regular season, Zlatan Ibrahimovic is two goals behind Carlos Vela for the MLS 2019 Golden Boot race. If Alan Kelly gets it right when Cristian Pavón is chopped down and Ibrahimovic converts from the spot, he’s one goal away. If Vela’s offside goal in El Trafico IV was correctly waved off, they’re all tied-up. That’s how thin the margins are. (LA are also pursuing a favorable playoff position!)

Once again the officials got it wrong and the Galaxy paid the price.