Ricardo Salazar’s explanation for red asks more questions

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It was difficult to see a foul at all as referee Ricardo Salazar ejected Joaquín Velázquez in the 40th minute last night for an challenge on Galaxy midfielder Colin Clark.

It was the main talking point in a 1-1 draw at the Home Depot Center.

Under MLS rules, a pool reporter is allowed to submit a written question (and one follow-up, if necessary) to a referee. The response will arrive in writing from the referee under the league guidelines. (It’s a tool that media use more frequently these days, but still probably not enough.)

Salazar wrote:

“The foul committed by Joaquín Velázquez was deemed by the referee as serious foul play; therefore the referee shown him the card and sent him off.”

Only, that’s not what happened.

Salazar clearly shows a yellow card, then shows a red card.

So … was the original foul a challenge that warranted ejection on its own? Or did Velazquez say or do something subsequently that got him sent off.

It appeared that the Chivas USA defender may have said something; if that was the case, why didn’t Salazar just explain it that way?

(Thanks, by the way, to LA Galaxy blogger Adam Serrano for Tweeted out a picture of Salazar’s hand-written note.)

Either way, Chivas USA manager José Luis Sánchez Solá was clearly unimpressed. And he’ll probably get a fine for suggesting favoritism – although the league has certainly been guilty of uneven application of guidelines against referee criticism. David Beckham regularly got away with it.

What Sanchez Sola said:

A human being has to conduct himself with respect and has to know how to respect others. Our adversary was magnificent. They are by far the best team in the league and one of the best on this continent. I respect what they do, but they are New York’s team. They are the team of the New York office.

“While I told him at halftime to call a fair match, he laughed. He had a wide smile on his face, as if to say, ‘This idiot.’ ”

MLS Best XI unveiled with awesome foosball video

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Major League Soccer, wow, this is terrific #content.

MLS released its Best XI on Monday with a dynamite video of the players passing the ball from Zack Steffen in goal to Josef Martinez up top… via a virtual foosball table.

[ VIDEO: An unprecedented goal ]

The XI is set in a 3-4-3, with the New York Red Bulls, DC United, and Atlanta United leading the way with a pair of players each.

My predictions? Well, I only got six correct. Whoops. The only absence that really surprises me is Graham Zusi, and Sporting KC not having representation at all. I guess that explains why SKC manager Peter Vermes is going to be announced as the next USMNT– Wait, what’s that? Oh. I’ll stop talking.

2018 MLS Best XI

Goalkeeper: Zack Steffen (Columbus)

Defenders: Kemar Lawrence (RBNY), Aaron Long (RBNY), Chad Marshall (Seattle)

Midfielders: Miguel Almiron (Atlanta), Luciano Acosta (DC), Ignacio Piatti (Montreal), Carlos Vela (LAFC)

Forwards: Zlatan Ibrahimovic (LA Galaxy), Josef Martinez (Atlanta), Wayne Rooney (DC)

WATCH: Striker scores potentially unprecedented goal while helping teammate

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“Look, I know you’re injured, but I’m gonna be right back. Got a goal to score for us.”

Maccabi Petah Tikva forward Habib Habibou scored what can only be described as an unprecedented goal — at least in terms of being captured on video — Israel this weekend.

[ MORE: PL Club Power Rankings ]

Habibou, 31, and his club were locked in scoreless tussle with Maccabi Netanya on Saturday when one of his teammates was injured in the box.

The CAR striker, formerly of Zulte Waregem and Royal Charleroi, was taking care of said teammate when he spotted an 87th minute spilled rebound.

What was he gonna do, really, other than dart onto the loose ball, score the match-winner, and then return to his ailing mate?

Petah Tikva won 1-0.

Juventus executive: Bring season Serie A game abroad

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Juventus chief revenue officer Giorgio Ricci likes La Liga’s idea of taking a regular season match outside of its domestic borders.

Ricci would like Serie A to explore a similar move, saying Italian soccer can only benefit from putting its brand in other markets.

[ MORE: PL Club Power Rankings ]

Serie A lags behind other top European league in TV money, which has hindered its ability to recruit top end talent relative to its competitors.

Ricci says if American sports see value in bringing their top leagues to Europe, it holds that the reverse would be true. From the BBC:

“If we look at some other more developed leagues in terms of commercial strategy; the NBA and NFL, they are exporting one or two of their matches abroad, to the UK or elsewhere in Europe. I think it is a good strategy. It is a way to export something that is not an exhibition.”

Would a regular season match bring any more eyes or attention than the International Champions Cup, at least enough to offset the sacrifice of atmosphere? It seems doubtful, but the money is the key here. Italy wants to catch up with Spain, Germany, and England.

FC Cincinnati switches crest ahead of MLS debut

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FC Cincinnati has unveiled its crest for 2019’s maiden voyage in Major League Soccer.

[ MORE: PL Club Power Rankings ]

Sticking with the orange and blue color combination which has served them since inception, the shield has FC in the top left corner, Cincinnati running diagonally left-to-right in blue script on white, and a winged lion holding a sword as the primary icon.

FCC will draft up to five current MLS players in the Expansion Draft on Dec. 11. Teams will announce their protected lists on Dec. 10.

Cincinnati will play in the Eastern Conference. It won the USL regular season championship under coach Alan Koch in 2018.