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Michael Bradley was none too pleased with officials in Toronto’s loss to Kansas City

Jul 27, 2014, 1:26 PM EDT

michael_bradley Getty Images

Toronto FC lost 2-1 to Sporting Kansas City on Saturday night. Referee Referee Ted Unkel handed out eight yellow cards, with five of those going to Kansas City. Matt Besler was sent off with fifteen minutes remaining, but ten-man Kansas City still managed to find the winning goal.

Toronto manager Ryan Nelsen seemed most appalled by a play that occurred in the 23rd minute. Kansas City defender Aurelien Collin clipped Gilberto’s leg as the striker went clear on goal. Nelsen felt the defender deserved a red: “Collin should have been sent off. I mean an under-12 ref can pick that one. That’s pretty basic.”

It was Michael Bradley, however, who decided to appeal to the league, begging them to take a look at the officiating problems that are often present:

It’s by no means an excuse, it was the same for both teams, but the referee was absolutely awful. The people at the MLS office in New York, when they talk about wanting to improve the league, the first thing that needs to be improved is the refereeing, bottom line.

That shouldn’t come across as sour grapes because that’s just the reality. And it was bad for both teams and I’m sure they’re sitting in their locker room saying the same thing to themselves, but they’ve got three points with them and that certainly makes it a little easier to swallow.

Fans of Major League Soccer have been complaining about the league’s officials for years. But if it’s one of the top USMNT players that voices his concerns, will the league finally take notice?

  1. jumpov - Jul 27, 2014 at 1:43 PM

    They should, with no dog in the fight (I was simply watching for the usmnt implications), that ref was deplorable.

    • tariencole - Jul 27, 2014 at 2:36 PM

      I’m an SKC fan, and I thought it should’ve been 10v10 at halftime. Collin’s foul was late and reckless, though not malicious. But Morrow’s on Dwyer was a potential legbreaker, reckless from behind, coming through the player. Everything the ref is SUPPOSED to watch for.

      And then the red card that IS issued is for 2 yellows on Besler that COMBINED might have become one foul. Twice the ref bought Oduro doing triple saltos (LITERALLY) on little-to-no contact. Mind you, this after Oduro had picked up a cheap yellow HIMSELF for obstructing a free kick from 2 yards. His first sending off in his career, and he didn’t even deserve a yellow between them for the contact. PERHAPS a warning for them both together.

      And then there was the most galling applications of the advantage rule I’ve ever seen. 20 seconds and as many yards away, and he calls the play back after the ‘advantage’ didn’t materialize. Meanwhile, the ball rolls straight to Dwyer in the box and the SAME ref blows it back. Yeah, because the striker having a clear scoring chance at the result of the foul isn’t advantage. *facepalm*

      What. An. Idiot.

      So yes, I agree with Bradley, it was a pathetic job of officiating. Both ways.

      • jslip1 - Jul 27, 2014 at 3:03 PM

        This astute observation will surely cost him some money when the league gets their paws on it. However, he is right. If the league wants to be taken seriously they need to have more going for them (in regards to officiating) than disappearing foam and Mark Geiger. Obviously it will come in time and obviously all leagues have issues with officiating. Hopefully this becomes rarer as we move into the future.

  2. bobinkc - Jul 27, 2014 at 3:54 PM

    Doers do, whiners whine. Toronto couldn’t do, so now they have to whine.

    If a truly accurate count of all fouls, both called and uncalled, was taken the count would be somewhere in the 50s for both teams. The problem with officiating is that you can only call what you see. Maybe MLS needs to put a second ref on the field to help prevent all the whining.

    TFC has a major problem on their hands. After watching a fair chunk of the game with Bradley whining and crying to the ref constantly, maybe Bradley needs to quit playing and become a ref. Then I’m sure all of the inequities would disappear in the games he would call.

    If TFC couldn’t put Sporting away with them being a man down AND allowing the winning goal, maybe they need to practice playing a little more and chuck the whining thing. Remember, doers do, whiners whine. SKC did and took home all 3 points. TFC whined and came out with nothing.

    • jslip1 - Jul 27, 2014 at 4:29 PM

      So you don’t like anything you perceive as whining? Got it.

  3. paperlions - Jul 27, 2014 at 4:59 PM

    Is there a soccer/football league in the world in which the players/teams don’t think that the league needs to find better officials?

    The degree to which better officiating will make the MLS better is tiny compared to the potential effect of having better players.

    • jslip1 - Jul 27, 2014 at 8:15 PM

      I mostly agree, but MLS needs more consistent officials. I would argue that their consistency contributes to the league’s legitimacy the same way soccer specific stadiums do.

    • talgrath - Jul 28, 2014 at 1:42 PM

      Bad officiating will keep good players away, after all bad referee work could mean serious injury or missed playing time due to bad referee calls.

  4. mjhomburg - Jul 28, 2014 at 9:01 AM

    I have watched a great many MLS Games, and, in general, the officiating is at a low level. A few Referees are up to the task, most are not and make serious mistakes. The ARs are, generally, even worse! Out of position most of the time. All-in-all, MLS could do with a lot more gutsy Referees, who are fully willing to apply the Laws of the Game. While doing that, they can also see to it that head injuries, due to inappropriate approaches to heading balls, are greatly reduced. I did not see the Toronto KSC Game, but I am sure that the Referee was the average kind of MLS Referee – you know, the ones sporting the “PRO” badge! Nothing professional about those though! They are in dire need of training. They may want to take a look at some of the World Cup Games and pay attention to the way some of those Referees worked the Games. Having said that, the skill level of the majority of MLS players makes refereeing MLS Games a tad more difficult. You cannot always determine whether a bad foul was malicious, or just due to lack of skill – the difference between a Send Off and a Caution! But more fouls need to be called and dealt with instantaneously by the Referees. Gentlemen, do your job!

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