Everyone is up in arms about the Conor Casey sending off on Saturday. It was not a great call but I don't think it was actually the worst one of the night. We have to remember that we always think that calls that do not go in our favor are always thought of as worse than calls that benefit us. Casey had an open hand raised, not an elbow. It was a physical challenge for an aerial ball. Players instinctively raise their hands when jumping. His fault was that he moved the hand towards the Houston player whose theatrical dive should also have received a yellow. It is this that annoys me more than anything. The theatrics caused the referee to lose his judgement and overreact. Decisions like this cost games. Maybe the Rapids were already out of it by then but we were definitely out of it with a man down and only just into the second half.
Casey's red aside, there were other calls that showed a lack of quality on the part of the referee. Mike Petke should maybe not be sliding into an attacking player in the penalty box but he clearly withdraws his feet close to the impact with the ball/player and there is no real contact. Thankfully, Preston Burpo made a good save to keep us in the game at that point. Our penalty at the death was also never a penalty. When will referees go back to reading their FIFA rulebook and work out that a handball has to be intentional to warrant a foul? Omar Cummings simply plays the ball into the chest of the Houston player (I don't think it even touches his arm). There is no intention and this was not a penalty.
This leads to the dumbest referee of the week which, though you might not believe it, was not our esteemed friend at DSG Park on Saturday. If anybody was watching the joker in the San Jose Dallas game (I changed channel given the extreme boredom aroused by the oh-so scripted VP debate), he must surely win World's Worst of the Week. Not only does he not send off Dallas defender, Davino, for a blatant handball which prevents San Jose from taking the lead, he also gives another penalty from a non-handball (simply because it hit the hand/chest of a SJ defender) in the 89th minute to give the very unfortunate San Jose a major setback in their playoff aspirations. Fans are always ready to criticize referees worldwide, not least, as I say, for a decision that does not go in their favor. But the quality of MLS refereeing can be decidedly poor and needs to be addressed if this league is going to carry some clout worldwide.