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Ricardo Salazar’s explanation for red asks more questions

Mar 18, 2013, 8:46 AM EDT

Salazar note

It was difficult to see a foul at all as referee Ricardo Salazar ejected Joaquín Velázquez in the 40th minute last night for an challenge on Galaxy midfielder Colin Clark.

It was the main talking point in a 1-1 draw at the Home Depot Center.

Under MLS rules, a pool reporter is allowed to submit a written question (and one follow-up, if necessary) to a referee. The response will arrive in writing from the referee under the league guidelines. (It’s a tool that media use more frequently these days, but still probably not enough.)

Salazar wrote:

“The foul committed by Joaquín Velázquez was deemed by the referee as serious foul play; therefore the referee shown him the card and sent him off.”

Only, that’s not what happened.

Salazar clearly shows a yellow card, then shows a red card.

So … was the original foul a challenge that warranted ejection on its own? Or did Velazquez say or do something subsequently that got him sent off.

It appeared that the Chivas USA defender may have said something; if that was the case, why didn’t Salazar just explain it that way?

(Thanks, by the way, to LA Galaxy blogger Adam Serrano for Tweeted out a picture of Salazar’s hand-written note.)

Either way, Chivas USA manager José Luis Sánchez Solá was clearly unimpressed. And he’ll probably get a fine for suggesting favoritism – although the league has certainly been guilty of uneven application of guidelines against referee criticism. David Beckham regularly got away with it.

What Sanchez Sola said:

A human being has to conduct himself with respect and has to know how to respect others. Our adversary was magnificent. They are by far the best team in the league and one of the best on this continent. I respect what they do, but they are New York’s team. They are the team of the New York office.

“While I told him at halftime to call a fair match, he laughed. He had a wide smile on his face, as if to say, ‘This idiot.’ ”

  1. adslazaro - Mar 18, 2013 at 9:57 AM

    Am I the only one who thought it looked like Velazquez dragged his back foot in order to kick Clark? On first viewing I thought the card was ridiculous as well, but on replay I thought I could see what I assume Salazar saw.

    • Steve Davis - Mar 18, 2013 at 10:05 AM

      There’s just not a great angle on a replay, is there? This is one that might look very, very different if viewed from anywhere else.

      • manchestermiracle - Mar 18, 2013 at 10:41 AM

        Like maybe from the ref’s viewpoint? The Galaxy should have pulverized Chivas, a team that doesn’t belong in the league right now, but I can see how they’d be upset since they managed a tie while being a man down. On the other hand they were fouling Galaxy players pretty regularly up to that point, so maybe Salazar was trying to send them a clear message.

    • Dan Haug - Mar 18, 2013 at 12:08 PM

      That was the only explanation I could come up with. If that call went against my team, I would be upset… however, as Steve says, there’s not a good angle to really see what the ref saw, and (as manchestermiracle mentions) Chivas were clearly looking to put the hurt on LA players. It could have been a combination of those things, where Salazar felt that there was an intentional kick of Clark above his shinguard, and that it came as part of a larger pattern of cheap shots.

  2. CaliforniaRedskins - Mar 18, 2013 at 2:23 PM

    As a Galaxy fan, I can say that I thought that was a terrible call yesterday when I was watching that game. The game was pretty rough and the ref did need to send a message, but that’s what a yellow card is for. As far as Chivas not belonging in the MLS, they’re currently siting on 4 point s and above most of the Western Conference in the standings and they’re still figuring things out. I’m probably in the minority here, but I don’t have a problem with what Chivas is doing this season. They’re obviously the little brother in their current situation, and without a drastic step that could never change. Kudos to the management team there for having the guts to make such a bold decision.

  3. bcat79 - Jun 2, 2013 at 11:08 PM

    Seattle fans are no fan of Salazar either. Every time he ref’s one of our games, we start the game knowing there will be mysterious penalty kicks, red cards against our players or someone will get hurt. It’s a no brainer. This guy wields personal power rather than objective, non bias reffing.

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