Peter Walton, the general manager of the Professional Referees Organization that oversees MLS referees, says that referee Kevin Stott has no recollection of telling L.A. Galaxy players that he wasn't going to hand out a second yellow card to players in last Sunday's Western Conference semifinal first leg against the Seattle Sounders.
The match, won by L.A. 1-0, saw some increasingly physical play in the latter stages, with Seattle center back Zach Scott -- who was already playing with a yellow card -- fouling Galaxy substitute forward Alan Gordon three times after the 80th minute.
Afterward, several L.A. players were of the opinion that Scott should have been given a second yellow card for persistent infringement and ejected from the match. That would have resulted in him being suspended for this Sunday's second leg in Seattle. Seattle manager Sigi Schmid even admitted that under different circumstances, Scott might have been sent off.
""We benefited a little bit," Schmid said. "In most games, I think the referee would've pulled out a second yellow."
But L.A. defender Omar Gonzalez told reporters that Stott had said to one of his teammates that the referee wouldn't be handing out a second yellow card to any player so that all players would remain eligible for the second leg.
"It's tough when Stott says to one of your players that he's not going to give another yellow because he wants the best players to play in the next game," said Gonzalez. " I think it's not his job to focus on the next game. It's his job to focus on the game tonight, the game at hand. For him to say that to one of our players is pretty ridiculous."
Reached by email, Walton said he spoke with Stott for their normal post-match de-brief on Monday, and that he asked Stott about Gonzalez's allegations.
"Kevin does not recall any conversation that Gonzalez is referring to," said Walton. "It would appear that any comments made were either taken out of context or misunderstood."
Stott wasn't named to referee either of the remaining conference final matches. PRO announced earlier on Tuesday that Baldomero Toledo would oversee the second leg of the Eastern Conference finals between the New York Red Bulls and the New England Revolution, while Jair Marrufo would referee the match in the Western Conference between L.A. and Seattle.
Walton did confirm that Stott is in contention to referee the MLS Cup final on Dec. 7 "along with the remaining referees in my pool."