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June 18, 2012 at 2:57 PM

Referee Mark Geiger isn’t the most liked guy in Seattle, Sounders don’t appeal red card

No one will make the case that refereeing was the reason the Sounders were blown out in Montreal. A 4-1 final score speaks for itself.

But that doesn’t mean players and coaches were exactly happy with how Mark Geiger managed Saturday’s game.

Geiger issued a controversial red card to Seattle defender Jhon Kennedy Hurtado and, among other noteworthy decisions, let Montreal defender Nelson Rivas off with just a yellow card on a dangerous-looking tackle from behind on Fredy Montero.

“I’m not going to bash the ref, but he’s not a fan of Seattle, it seems like,” said defender Jeff Parke. “Anytime we have him, he’s doing some weird things out there.”

The red card was the decision that affected the game most.

“Personally, I didn’t understand it,” said Hurtado through an interpreter, “but I respect the call of the ref. There are 22 guys on the field that he’s trying to watch and there’s only one of him, and he’s doing the best he can. I repeat that I respect the call, but it was very frustrating.”

Hurtado said there was no warning during what was a physical game that Geiger was looking to send a message. Parke said he hadn’t seen the replay, but said “it looked soft” watching live.

The Sounders elected against appealing the red card decision, which is a new option for teams this season (a closer look on the process here). Coach Sigi Schmid explained:

“I don’t think it was a red card in my opinion, because I think he was going for the ball just as (Collen Warner) was going for the ball,” Schmid said. “He got there late — Warner got to the ball first — and I think you could already see Kennedy sort of turn out of it trying not to hit him. I think he was more trying to avoid it than go through it, but it’s also one of those where appealing it probably isn’t the smartest thing to do because it’s not one of those clear cut, cut-and-dried cases where you can say, ‘OK, it’s mistaken identity,’ or, ‘Obviously there was no contact,’ or something. For sure there was contact, but I don’t think it was the blatant intent that you would expect a red card to be.”

Added Parke: “It’s both guys going in for the ball. There’s no intent in my eyes on Jhonny doing anything malicious or going after him. The dude got up right away, didn’t have a mark on his leg, so it’s not like he studded him or got him at all.”

But there was something else that was more upsetting to Schmid…

“I don’t want to say a lot about the refereeing because I get in trouble if I say a lot,” he prefaced. “The thing that bothered me the most was the treatment of the fourth official I thought was pretty bad. I know people said I got all over the fourth official — and I did in the second half — but at that point he’d already had an earful, and it wasn’t from me.

“The big thing was at the end of the first half, where the opposing coach walks 40 yards with the referee off the field talking to him. I haven’t seen that ever in MLS and that really ticked me off. I tried to talk to him after the game and I wasn’t afforded the same opportunity. Apparently my voice was too loud; I raised it, but it’s tough to talk to somebody when they’re walking away from you. In this case he was walking with (the other coach) together. I thought that was unusual and that’s what really got my dander up.

“Then afterward in the second half all of a sudden the red card comes and calls are going against us. A guy like Collen Warner committed I think five fouls in the game; he would’ve fouled out if he was a college basketball player. Every foul he made was whenever we got a step on somebody in midfield he would nick somebody, and that never warranted a yellow card for repetitive fouling. I thought for sure we fouled Felipe Martins a few times, but our guys also ended up getting two yellow cards for those fouls. I just felt there wasn’t parity, I guess, at that point.”

Schmid was then asked how he understands the procedures when it comes to talking to referees.

“I always thought that you’re not supposed to go into that area and for sure you’re not supposed to walk off with the official,” he said. “That’s what I was always told. I’ve gone out to get my players away sometimes and I’ll shake (the ref’s) hand and I’ll make a comment, but I’ve never walked off the field with the referee because I thought that was really not what was allowed.”

* * *

What did you think of Geiger’s performance? How about Seattle not appealing the red card?


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