It was a beautiful day in North Texas, and an even better day as FC Dallas was going to be broadcasted on a predominantly English-speaking channel. Alas, however, that would prove to be no consolation as Cobi Jones was handed the mic to color commentate on the proceedings this evening. Another unfortunate development was the fact that Baldomero Toledo was taking center stage this match. A frequent target of referee-related criticism at the MLS, this game may go down as a textbook Toledo game.
Not Many Positives
Shaky defense and some good chances for both teams. FC Dallas was looking to exploit the Marvell Wynne vs Michael Barrios battle on the left wing throughout the first half. The aged defender was having a bit of trouble having to keep up with the small Columbian, and several long balls were out to try and start something. The strategy almost paid off with Barrios getting off a quick shot and having is saved well by David Bingham. Matt Hedges was his dominant self, clearing danger and being at the right place defensively at the right time. Found myself jumping out of my seat and yelling "FREAKING HEDGES!" with various fist pumps to show my approval a couple of times.
Refereeing is one of the hardest jobs to have. No one can disagree with the level of difficulty of being a referee, but this day was a nightmare day for the man in the middle. We have 3 separate incidents to examine in this game, and as a former intramural referee at UTD, I feel like I can have a go at these calls (sarcasm). Let's look at each one individually:
The first, Mark Sherrod hitting Dan Kennedy in the head. I get it, your momentum carries you, hard to stop, and Kennedy lifted his head up. Wait, Kennedy lifting his head up? Blaming the goalkeeper for wanting to get up? The defender was running with Sherrod and easily got out of the way. How come Sherrod was sticking around and as a result hitting Kennedy in the head with his cleat. Sherrod shouldn't have been anywhere near Kennedy once it was clearly his ball, but still, a harsh call. My assessment on the call: borderline, but in 20/20 hindsight I'd say should've been a yellow.
The second, Je-Vaughn Watson avoiding a studs up tackle from a SJ player earns him a red. I'm guessing Toledo saw a stamp or something? Flat out bad call from Toledo as Watson trying to get out of the way earns him a straight red card. My assessment: was it even a foul? I'd say a no call would've been just as appropriate, maybe a yellow. Instead, a make-up call is made and makes Toledo's bad performance look even worse.
The third, Toledo actually got this one right. J.J. Koval goes in studs up on an FC Dallas player on a 50/50 ball and the SJ player who was just subbed on gets an early shower. This was actually the best call all night for Toledo. Predictably, and maybe rightfully so, the home crowd began to chant "ref you suck!" over and over again. We've been in their shoes' friends. Remember Ismail Elfath last year? My assessment: Red. 100%.
Fan quote of the day is brought to you by the SJ Earthquake fans when they collectively summed up Toledo's performance for the game: "Ref you suck"
Poor Toledo, or not poor Toledo? Your assessment on the man's performance on the night? Do you agree with my hindsight revisions? Satisfied with a point on the road? Or frustrated we couldn't achieve more playing up a man for a good portion of the game against an arguably weaker side? Let me know in the comments below!