Real Salt Lake fans hoping for a measure of sympathy after a 3-1 setback late Saturday aren't likely to find a shoulder to cry on from their San Jose counterparts.
Indeed, 'Quakes fans would probably be more than happy to equate karma to a certain, and unprintable, other five letter word.
With Saturday's key Western Conference showdown level at 1-1, referee Elias Bazakos adjudged that RSL center back Jamison Olave had denied San Jose's Steven Lenhart a goal scoring opportunity by committing a foul as the last defender.
Television replays clearly showed this not to be the case.
In fact, Lenhart had hold of Olave's shorts for several yards, dragging the hulking Columbian down to the pitch with him. The proper call in the sequence would have been simply to play on, and/or cautioning Lenhart for simulation.
A caution would have been the second of the match for the Earthquakes' 61st minute substitute and removed San Jose's man-advantage it had gained in the first half after RSL forward Fabian Espindola was deservedly sent off for a two-footed, cleats-up challenge.
"He's an inexperienced referee. It was a difficult circumstance for him and he struggled," RSL boss Jason Kreis said of Bazakos. "Our league is trying to bring in new, talented referees, and in order to do that you have to give guys an opportunity and hopefully correct their mistakes. I hope the folks who do the teaching do a lot of teaching with him in the upcoming week."
The play was eerily similar to the final 2011 meeting between the two sides at Rio Tinto Stadium, during which RSL forward Alvaro Saborio simulated a foul and flopped to the ground at the edge of the box. Saborio's theatrics earned the Costa Rican a penalty kick and resulted in San Jose defender Bobby Burling being ejected for the same offense. Saborio converted the kick to break a 0-0 tie in the 60th minute, and the home side poured in three more goals in the waning minutes.
Saborio was fined $1,000 and suspended for a match, and RSL fans on Twitter during the match and into Sunday are vehemently calling for the same treatment for Lenhart.
Unlike last season, however, Major League Soccer has implemented a system by which Olave's red card and associated fine can be rescinded. With just three days before Wednesday's mid-week match with FC Dallas in Frisco, Texas, the Utah side may, however, just grit their teeth and bare the one-game suspension, giving Olave rest until Saturday's home meeting with league bottom feeder Toronto.
Despite his restrained, yet pointed, words toward the match officiating, Kreis did feel a measure of pride for his team nearly gaining a result on the road despite being down by two men.
"I challenged the guys a bit at halftime, and tried to get them to look at the situation as positively as possible," Kreis said. "I told them it was a challenge to our pride and what we're about to see how they reacted. And they reacted fantastically. We were very close to pulling off a heroic result."
You can follow Justin Johnson on Twitter at @jjohnson801 or email him at email@example.com.