CenturyLink Field has seen its fair share of controversy regarding replacement referees, but Saturday’s MLS opener did not feature another.
The referee for Saturday’s matchup between Sounders FC and Sporting Kansas City was Irishman Alan Kelly. He has worked UEFA World Cup qualifiers in the past and UEFA youth tournaments in the past. Kelly has also officiated games in the UEFA Champions League.
Sporting Kansas City committed 25 fouls on Saturday, a Sounders-record for most suffered in a game. On the Seattle-front, there were no complaints about Kelly’s performance.
“I thought it was all right actually,” midfielder Brad Evans said after Saturday’s game. “I was pleasantly surprised. A few tacky-tack fouls here and there, but he’s seen it all before. I thought a couple times he could’ve let advantage play, but no complaints on my end.”
Evans appealed for a penalty in the first half when he was allegedly taken down in the first half, but that was really the only moment of controversy for Kelly.
Head coach Sigi Schmid said he didn’t have a good view of the call at the time, and also noted that Kansas City commits more fouls than many other MLS clubs anyway.
“I thought (Kelly) did well,” Schmid said. “I don’t have any complaints about how he handled his job. I think KC was happy about it, as well. I think they are just a team that commits something like 120 more fouls than we do in the season.”