24 July 2004

How bad can a referee get?

The box score: SJ 2, NE 2. Both of the Quakes' goals at 90+ minutes. Dayak ejected for "serious foul play" and Donovan cautioned (and later suspended) for getting on the ref's case. They say he threw a finger, and probably he did, although I saw the ref whipping out his card on seeing the Golden Boy applauding the linesman sarcastically for not calling back the final goal.

Just when you think referees in the MLS can't get worse, a new low point is reached. The report from the second row of section 107, with a fine look at events in question is this:

  1. Dayak was shoving at Franchino in the box, true. Franchino was shoving at Dayak. I was watching them in particular, given that they had been going at it pretty well and the ref had given them a stern lecture not 30 seconds previously. I didn't see any elbow get thrown, nothing more than what happens every time someone goes up for a header in the box, but I could believe it of Dayak. Didn't see it, but I could believe it. And given said stern lecture, Dayak was asking for trouble, and a yellow (for persistent misconduct, if nothing else) was warranted. A straight red seemed very harsh indeed, but it is something Dayak seems to be making a habit of in his first game back from injury, and frankly if he hadn't been sent off the Quakes would probably have sleep-walked through the rest of the game too.
  2. The referee blew the call on DeRosario's first goal three times over. Here's how it played out: Franchino threw a deliberate elbow at Mullen's head, sending him sprawling. Under the principle previously established, and for the fact that he was generally laying waste to everyone in sight, Franchino should have been sent off right there. The AR frantically waved his flag to report this gross infraction to the CR, who (a) should have seen the infraction himself, it was so blatant, and (b) should have seen the AR and made an advantage/no advantage decision then and there. I was watching the CR the whole time so see when, if ever, he would acknowledge the foul. He didn't look at the AR until DeRosario's shot was past the goalkeeper. At this point he blows his whistle and starts back upfield to acknowledge the goal. After several steps, he notices the AR, mainly because New England defenders are whining at him and they all apparently labour under the fond delusion that it was an offside call. So CR trots over to AR to chat about the weather. It is at this point that fate takes a diabolical turn and the ref's mind wandered into a poppy field: (1) he calls back the goal and (2) he doesn't give the red.
  3. I would have sworn DeRosario was a step offside on the second goal and I was looking straight at him as the play developed saying "get onside, get onside". My son says he was played on by someone on the far side. Mebbe so.

Capsule summary: I'd say that the ref robbed us of two points and a burrito, but the Quakes didn't start playing until they got mad about the one-two punch of the sending off and the blown call on the goal. Memo to Quakes: Next Game, Start Mad. Memo to Dom: Next Game, Start DeRo.