SAN DIEGO - Saturday night's 1-1 draw between the San Diego Flash and Santa Clarita Storm was enough to give the San Diego team the last playoff spot in the NPSL Western South division. The match was filled with controversy and it wasn't until today Tuesday when the league has made it official that the Flash will indeed advance after an official protest from Santa Clarita Storm regarding the match referees.
First place in the Western South division was already wrapped up by FC Hasental and the second and last spot was up for grabs between San Diego Flash and Santa Clarita Storm. The Flash and the Storm had to face each other in the last game of the season; in a game that would decide who would advance and who would be left behind.
The game was filled with multiple referee errors that went against both teams. Santa Clarita had taken an early lead with a Robbie Gouk 25-yard shot in the seventh minute.
Moments later what seemed like a clear penalty for the Flash was not given by the referee. Flash's Andy Ortega was brought down in the box by a horse-collar tackle; a move that is even illegal in the NFL. Andy Ortega would find the equalizer for the Flash in the 34th minute.
In the 72nd minute Jose Torres could have given the Flash the lead but his penalty kick was saved by the Storm goalkeeper.
Four minutes later in the 78th minute Storm were awarded a penalty kick of their own.
The penalty shot was scored, but the referee waived off the goal due to encroachment into the box by a Storm player. By rule the penalty kick should have been retaken, but the referee awarded the ball to the Flash.
The game would end with the scoreboard 1-1, a scoreline that would send the Flash to the playoffs. But Santa Clarita were not going to stand by and filed an official complaint with the league regarding the officiating. With the win the Storm would have advanced to the playoffs leaving the Flash behind.
It wasn't until Tuesday that league officials have decided to let the final score stand allowing the San Diego Flash to advance to the playoffs as the Western South division second place finishers.