Skip to content

Dear Major League Soccer: We need to talk about referee Baldomero Toledo. Again!

May 2, 2013, 12:02 PM EDT

Jack Jewsbury, Hanyer Mosquera, Baldomero Toledo AP

Major League Soccer, having issued two suspensions this week, really needs to issue one more. The league needs to give referee Baldomero Toledo a break. Maybe a long one.

We told you earlier that New England left back Chris Tierney has been suspended for tonight’s opener for Week 10 in MLS, the Revs’ visit to Portland. Tierney’s challenge on Sebastien Le Toux is a textbook example of a tackle that needs dealing with by the referee; it’s a caution at minimum, and there can certainly be a case made for red. (The disciplinary committee apparently agrees.)

The challenge is late. It’s up high (ending up in Le Toux’s knee). His cleats are showing. And in the collective all of that makes it reckless and potentially injurious.

It’s a card. Period. The fact that it happened right in front of the referee’s assistant makes it more of no-brainer. (Toledo could have consulted with his RA, at least.)

Speaking of “at least,” not even a word with Tierney?

I am sure Toledo is doing his best – but is that going to help when the next guy is injured because Toledo doesn’t recognize a blatant, bad challenge?

In fact, just a minute later the Revolution’s Andrew Farrell was injured. He was hurt when fouled by Philadelphia’s Gabriel Farfan. No whistle! Play on!


Another 30 seconds or so later, the Revs’ Kelyn Rowe fouls Union forward Antoine Hoppenot just outside the penalty area. It’s a classic MLS move: Hit the player to impede his attacking move and then turn and get the ball while the guy is off balance.

No whistle. Play on!

Again, I am sure Toledo is doing his best – but he is frequently overmatched.

By the way, in an admittedly small sample, Toledo was named the league’s worst referee in a Sports Illustrated preseason survey of MLS players.

And this is the second time in three weeks that I, personally, have watched a performance that needed calling into question. Here, Toledo was the man in the middle as a textbook case of persistent infringement was either ignored or unnoticed – and I am not even sure which of those would be a bigger violation.

Here is the Tierney foul. You be the judge.


  1. lostangelino - May 2, 2013 at 12:52 PM

    We all know there has long been a culture by referees that the REFEREE is the one and only, he rules his/her domain. Having been raised in the United States, i’ve been able to the officials work major sports like the NBA, and the NFL. And while we do not want to slow the game down, take look at how the NBA officials work. They are a true TEAM, if there is any hint of a question they gather together and work it out. I’ve never seen a fourth official make a call. So, maybe the MLS needs to take the lead and show the rest of the world how to properly officiate an athletic competition.

  2. geojock - May 2, 2013 at 1:32 PM

    Has there ever been any evidence of a review of MLS officials that includes any kind of accountability?? I am sure there are some sound bites on how the league strives for the highest quality blah blah blah. But is anything really been done? I think we need a serious influx of overseas talent.

  3. bobinkc - May 2, 2013 at 1:56 PM

    When I was a child back in Wichita, the play-by-play broadcaster would get behind in calling the basketball games for the University of Wichita. Finally, Gus would get really frustrated, yell “Holy Toledo,” into the mike, and then pick the pbp from where it was.

    Maybe all of us fans, when our boy makes a really horrid call (or misses a blatant), should start yelling “Holy Toledo” at him. I’m not sure there is any other solution for such an egregiously poor showing every time he takes the field.

    The only thing I know is that when he is seen warming along the sidelines in Kansas City, my friends and I groan and wonder who is going to get hurt tonight.

  4. primetime2912 - May 3, 2013 at 12:24 AM

    You do realize that these referees are told how to referee these games and what to call? These guys don’t go out there doing what they want and making up their own rules. They are told what to caution and what not to. Granted Toledo just missed that tackle and it probably should have been a red, but no referee is perfect.

    You watch more MLS games Steve than anyone. All the games practically called the same. The referees don’t call a lot of fouls and they don’t give many cards. It’s not a coincidence. They are told to referee the games that way.

    The reality is since MLS was founded the referees were told to not give out cards and do everything in their power to not send off players. If they didn’t listen, they wouldn’t get another game. Referees are competitive as the players, they all want to “play.”

    You think it’s a coincidence that David Beckham was only ever sent off once in an MLS game? You think all the referees were too lenient and were star struck by Beckham? No. Many of them hated his guts and wanted to send him off, but if they did they wouldn’t get a game for long time.

    Don’t blame individual referees, blame the administrators/league.

Leave Comment

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!

Featured video

PST Extra: Analyzing transfer deadline day