The PRO is going to have a fun time justifying (or correcting) some of the atrocious calls this weekend. The referees haven't been the focus for a little while now, but a slew of blown or missed calls brings them back into focus.
The Chicago Fire went and stepped in it, getting trounced by the Columbus Crew 3-0. Just when they were in control of their destiny, the Fire let their hard earned spot slip through their fingers. It started off decently enough but it soon turned sour. Around the fifteenth minute Dominic Oduro was sprung by Federico Higuain and took a shot on goal. Despite Sean Johnson's best attempts to stop it the ball found the back of the net, and 14 minutes later Bakary Soumare was given a red card for his late tackle on Jairo Arrieta.
The Fire have got to be crushed. At this point, only New England failing will allow them back into the race. It's entirely possible they can still make it, but relying on others to fail is a bad strategy. This team can't decide if it's good, bad, or middling.
Thanks for nothing, Montreal. Goodness, what is with this Impact team? They resemble Salt Lake in one way: one week, they look like the best team in the league, and the next they look like a team of ragtag misfits that aren't really very good at soccer and also need to learn the value of friendship and teamwork.
The Whitecaps now have more realistic playoff hopes than Dallas, even if only slightly, and that just goes to show how cruel this world is. If they make it in, there will be no Vancouvering, and that's not a world I want to be in. If Dallas is going down, they should drag Vancouver into the depths of 2013 irrelevance with them.
Also, Marco Schallibaum is doing his very best to ensure he gets fined or suspended every single week. This week, he had some choice words regarding the reversal of a PK given by the center official. He said "it was a disgrace", and that "If he allows himself to be influenced, then maybe I should do the same next time around.".
It's hard to argue with him. Regardless of how you feel about the PK call, or about the decision to reverse it, the mass confrontation that came about after the whistle absolutely should not be rewarded. MLS made a big song and dance to begin the season about how confronting the center official en masse would result in disciplinary action. This would count as a textbook definition of it.
Either you allow mass confrontation, or you do not. There better be some sort of punishment coming this week.
Lee Nguyen had a few very exciting moments, but the real story of this game is how a single AR can influence a game to the point of deciding the outcome. The most egregious call was a missed offside that resulted in a goal. Here's a video of the blown call.
That call came minutes after a terrible PK was whistled on DC for Nguyen's fall in the box. There was some justice in that Hamid saved a very poor spot kick, but that doesn't make up for the poor decisions by the officiating crew.
After stating that, factually, RSL doesn't lose back to back games very often, and that they are usually motivated after a loss, it looks pretty silly to see them go out and make basic marking mistakes on set pieces.
Some people, usually those who have teams that like to pass a lot, like to pretend that set pieces don't matter. Explain that to Jason Kreis, who is probably going to put Nat Borchers in the stocks for his absent minded defending that helped contribute to RSL's loss. It's a shame because Salt Lake was probably the better team all things considered.
But the devil's in the details. Not properly marking or paying attention during set pieces is bound to bite you in the butt.
I'd go on about this game more, but I'd be doing you a disservice as I don't remember the details well, even though I watched it live. I distinctly remember a wide open field of play, and Seattle getting really lucky.
Food for Thought:
- What do you think of the calls this weekend? Worse than average, same as always, or better than your standard weekend?
- Which of the Revs or Fire do you think make the playoffs?
- Which result surprised you more? For me it was RSL losing to SJ.
- Thoughts on the LA-SEA game? The Rapids-Timbers game?