The argument over second bookings in MLS

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In this piece, veteran Soccer America writer Ridge Mahoney says MLS referees are getting tougher and assessing second yellow cards at a greater and helpful rate. And the men in the middle are getting it right in many cases.

The problem remains the referees’ inconsistencies, which is infuriating to fans, players and coaches.

So second bookings send some guys to the showers – while some of the equally guilty are getting off light. Seattle’s Andy Rose, for instance, was granted leniency for his ridiculous challenge on Freddy Adu a couple of weeks ago, a foul that should have been Rose’s second caution and subsequent ejection.

And then over the weekend, Landon Donovan was on one yellow for an intentional handball when he barreled into the back of Chivas USA defender Rauwshan McKenzie. It was unnecessary and dangerous, clearly a product of frustration that is settling into L.A. Galaxy Valley. Donovan isn’t a dirty player, but he made a mistake here. (I would show you the video, but it’s not part of MLSSoccer’s highlight pack. Boooo!)

It probably should have been a second booking.

Compare that to, say, Philadelphia’s Freddy Adu’s second booking two weeks ago for diving. Or to Dallas’ Zach Loyd’s second booking for a fairly innocuous foul. And those are just a few of the examples. (In that case, both players had to sit out the same match as their sides met over the weekend, so it more or less balanced out on that end.)

MLS is trying hard to level out the officiating – but there are clearly still miles to go.