Last night’s Galaxy vs. Red Bulls game was a very interesting affair. For weeks now, New York head coach Jesse Marsch has complained about how referees call Red Bulls games. Three injuries forced substitutions for the Red Bulls before the 50th minute, with one coming after a questionable tackle. Two late penalty calls that could have gone the Red Bulls’ way went uncalled by referee Hilario Grajeda.
There are a couple of points about the game that I would like to make.
One, some of the comments afterwards were hilarious. They happen every time there is a bad call in a MLS game. People saying they will never watch a MLS game because of the referees. Bad refereeing happens, calls get missed. This is not strictly a MLS problem, this happens everywhere in the world. How many times is the story after a Premiership game the lousy performance from the referee? What about the World Cup?
Referees are not perfect, and they have good and bad games just like players. Bad performances over a longer period of time should be reviewed and assignments should be handed out accordingly. The U.S. also needs to put a greater emphasis on developing professional referees, we need a larger pool. These are issues, but they are the same issues every country and every major league faces.
Second, New York’s new mentality of telling everyone that will listen that the referees are against them might be hurting them more than it’s helping them. It actually could have helped in the match with New York City FC as the referees seemed to be overcompensating, at least according to NYCFC’s Patrick Vieira. Last night, the comments going into the match, along with the reactions after every questionable call from the start, could have caused the opposite reaction. I do not think that referees intentionally call things against one team. However, they are human, and when they get criticized before and during a game incessantly, those judgement calls might be a little tougher to make from an objective perspective.
This mentality of “the referees are out to get us” can end up having a negative effect on the team. Players start to fall apart after a perceived bad call, when we all know that the overwhelming majority of calls in this game are judgement calls that happen in a split second. When this starts comes from the manager, it can get out of control quickly within the squad.
All of this being said, here’s my thoughts on the perceived slights last night. The tackle from Jeff Larentowicz on Damien Perrinelle could have easily received a yellow card. The overreaction by New York was down to Perrinelle’s recent return from injury. The other injuries were bad luck. The second tackle by Larentowicz on Kemar Lawrence early in the second half definitely should have seen a yellow card at a minimum.
The two late penalty shouts were bad misses by the referee. The first one on Alex Muyl looked extremely obvious in live action and was confirmed by the replay. The second one on Gonzalo Veron did not look as clear live, but contact was evident on the replay.
I don’t have a problem with Marsch getting thrown out late, especially after the missed penalty on the tackle on Muyl. I do think that he has to start toning down the victim mentality when it comes to referees. It is not doing his club any favors.
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Morris beats the offside trap and plays to Dempsey who taps in to make it 2-1 Seattle! pic.twitter.com/QeIEybShU1— Total MLS (@TotalMLS) August 7, 2016
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