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Bad weekend for MLS referees; Chivas USA Dan Kennedy ejected, and it looks like the wrong call

May 5, 2013, 6:35 PM EDT

Dan Kennedy head shot

Chivas USA goalkeeper Dan Kennedy definitely tripped Sporting Kansas City’s Paulo Nagamura in the 55th minute of the team’s Sunday evening match in the heartland.

Referee Baldomero Toldedo was absolutely correct in pointing to the penalty spot. (Claudio Bieler converted for his second goal of the afternoon, giving Sporting KC a 2-0 lead.)

But a red card? Toledo got that one wrong. (And weren’t we just saying that Toledo probably needed a little break after last week’s unsatisfactory performance with the whistle? Yep, we sure were.)

Nagamura rounds Kennedy, sure enough, but a trailing Chivas USA defender, Joaquin Velasquez, leaves plenty of cover for Toledo. He could point to the spot, issue a yellow (perhaps) and there would likely be few complaints from the home team.

As it was, the penalty kick was going to leave the game out of reach either way. Chivas never had much of a chance in this one; SKC had three goals in 70 minutes, while the visitors still had not put a shot on goal.

The problem is that Kennedy, one of the Goats’ best players, will now miss the Goats’ trip into Portland in a week’s time.

Of course, it was also a bad day for the men in the middle Saturday at PPL Park. Just ask Philadelphia manager John Hackworth. Meanwhile, you be the judge on the telling sequence from Sporting Park.


  1. wyrm1 - May 5, 2013 at 6:41 PM

    I think that the red is defensible. Yes, the defender might have beaten Nagamura to the ball, but it is certainly not clear that this is the case, especially from 25-30 yards away and trailing the play.

    I agree that Toledo is probably the worst of the regular MLS refs, but I don’t really think this call is a sign of that. He had to make a judgement about who would get to the ball, and if he thinks Nagamura will, then it is a no-brainer red. I’m not sure I agree with the call, but it isn’t horrible (like some of last week’s).

    • Steve Davis - May 5, 2013 at 7:04 PM

      Fair ’nuff. I may be a little biased on this one because I really double-dog HATE the double jeopardy of penalty kick AND red card. I just think it has to be 100 percent crystal clear in order for a ref (any of them) to essentially decide the game in that case.

      If it’s clear its clear; I just thought there was enough wiggle room on this one, and I think Toledo should have used it. (But, no … this was ‘misdemeanor’ stuff compared to last week’s ‘felony’ work. We definitely agree on that one.)

  2. bobinkc - May 5, 2013 at 10:01 PM

    Steve, I normally agree with a lot of your analyses. I must take exception with this one, however, and I can hardly stand it when Toledo walks onto the pitch. The man needs to be stripped of his whistle and drummed out of the MLS yesterday. Beyond that, I refuse to comment further on the most pathetic referee in the league.

    The red card was deserved. Kennedy’s play today was moments of silliness interspersed with whole minutes of decent play. His biggest problem was the moments of abject bad play that had him wildly out of position, too far off his line, and just not thinking. If Kennedy really is the best that the Goats can field, we need another team in the MLS that is more than a farm team for the Mexican sponsors.

    Kennedy never touched the ball and was far enough out of position that he apparently thought that tripping Paulo was the only solution to his predicament of going to 2-0. There is no excuse for this kind of play from a veteran goalie. He now has to swallow a 4-0 loss and not be a part of his team for their next game. So be it.

  3. chadmoon1 - May 6, 2013 at 11:34 AM

    Wrong on this one Steve. The next touch that Nagamura is going to take scores. If the defender does anything it is to foul Nagamura himself and get sent off. Either way someone is leaving.

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