Let me preface this by saying I may come across as an asshat and a sore supporter, but sometimes you need to say what’s on your mind.
I wanted to give myself some time before writing about the New England Revolution game on Saturday. I hoped there would be a sense of calm towards the refereeing with some time and distance from the match. Alas, there is still frustration. At this point, I’m not even upset with Matt Polster’s second yellow, however soft it was. The frustrations come down to the referee’s overall performance, who set a precedent and did not adhere to his guidelines.
The farce that was the second half referee display by Guido Gonzales Jr. would have any supporter infuriated by the inconsistency for what warranted a card. Starting with the second yellow to Matt Polster, it is a yellow, and I can concede that. Was it drawn by the Philadelphia player flopping down like a Halloween decoration losing air (credit Chris Creighton for the analogy), probably, but the dark arts are a part of soccer. Sometimes officials will give a player on a yellow a break in this situation, a final warning to ensure the game can continue with even numbers. Gonzales Jr. did not, and carded Polster. A clear break and a soft foul but a foul and a yellow card offense by the book. Queue the animosity from those in the New England corner saying it was too soft for a yellow since it was in his half and there were covering defenders. Queue the Philadelphia’s response saying no matter what, that was a yellow card offense; he should get the yellow. Now though Gonzales Jr. has set a precedent for what is a second yellow card, and this is where my problems begin.
63rd Minute, Alejandro Bedoya goes in and off the ball blocks off Tommy McNamara, preventing his run into the attacking third after playing the ball down the line to Penilla. Gonzalez Jr. seems to see it as a foul as his arm goes up to play the advantage, the ball turns over, and the game continues. At the next stoppage, Gonzalez Jr. does not go back to show a second yellow. 7 minutes have passed since Matt Polster’s second yellow, 7 minutes have passed since he set a precedent for a second yellow card offense. There are two questions raised by this, did Gonzalez Jr. consider it a foul, and if he did, how is he that inconsistent in such little time? The fact that he did not call the play dead after Panilla turns the ball over has made me think that Gonzalez Jr. was waving play on. I have not heard the Philadelphia broadcast, but the local broadcast brought up the question of whether he will go back to the foul, explicitly mentioning that Bedoya is on a yellow.
65th Minute, Jose Martinez does the same thing that Matt Polster does, and I mean the same thing; the only difference is that it is in the attacking third, and this time Gonzalez Jr. does not even call a foul. This lack of a foul is the one that gets me heated due to what happened 9 minutes prior. A different jersey, further away from goal, is not only a foul but also a yellow card. The inconsistency seen is not only inexcusable but complete bullshit. It is unclear why he chose one over the other, and this is where I get frustrated. He set his standards and did not uphold them. If I seem a loss for words, it is because I am just so baffled. I will again reference the Revolution broadcast because you can hear the exasperation in Charlie Davis’s voice when he goes, ” and he’s on a yellow as well.” A former player for both sides, perhaps somewhat biased since he is on the Revolution broadcast seeing things as unfair.
As a fan, seeing the referee’s inconsistency is infuriating, and you can see why the Revolution players are crowding the ref to ask what is going on. His decisions changed the outcome of the game. Philadelphia’s second goal would have been covered if the Rev’s have eleven men, or the Union is down to ten. Not only does he change the outcome of this game, but he potentially influences the game against NYCFC, since Polster will miss that match.
I hope that somehow PRO reprimands him for this match, but since I have little faith in P.R.O. I doubt anything will come of it. What disappoints me most about this referee organization is that their general manager is Howard Webb, one of the most well-regarded referees in recent history. If he cannot get this organization to have some form of consistency, then who can, and why is MLS still using P.R.O.?