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Persistent infringement: the MLS blemish that won’t go away

Apr 13, 2013, 9:04 PM EDT

Sarvas headshot

It’s halftime at LA Galaxy-Dallas; the teams are scoreless on the NBC Sports Network’s Saturday night offering.

But let’s take a quick second to mention a continuing failure of Major League Soccer officiating:

(For the record, the quality is slowly improving. I know it’s not always 100 percent apparent, but I truly believe it to be true. That said … )

Persistent infringement is one area MLS officials seem unable to corral. Really, it’s just an awareness thing.

LA Galaxy midfielder Marcelo Sarvas has five fouls at the break. Five! That’s enough for a persistent infringement booking over 90 minutes, much less before intermission.

And yet, Baldomero Toledo has seen no reason to book the Galaxy midfielder. Only he could explain why.

  1. jamezyjamez - Apr 14, 2013 at 12:37 AM

    Stevie, you nailed it as usual. I am one who really dislikes referees who give out cards excessively, and can appreciate when they control the game through warnings for the first infraction where warranted. But being at the FCD-LAG match tonight, I just can’t fathom why any player would ever stop fouling to disrupt the other team and wear down their most dangerous player if all you have to worry about is a “talking-to” from the ref. Pull out your card already, man…FIVE fouls in a half?!

    Maybe we should put up a board like basketball to show foul counts on individuals? Don’t you have any contacts to whom you could voice this concern? I know you are well-connected with your background as a CIA operative and sports journalist.

  2. primetime2912 - May 3, 2013 at 12:30 AM

    It’s not that these referees don’t know persistent infringement, it’s the fact that the league doesn’t want them to caution persistent infringement. If they caution a player for persistent infringement it puts him in danger of one rash tackle of getting sent off and thus “ruining the game.” MLS does not want that.

    These referees are told what to caution and what not to. Their number one goal is to keep all 22 players on the pitch, not to promoted attacking soccer. MLS seems to think that more red cards will lead to fans turning away…

    It’s not that these guys are bad referees, they are told to referee games this way. If they don’t listen MLS will find someone else who will.

    Many of the referees in MLS depend on those games for their livelihoods/supplemental income.

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