Toronto FC latest MLS club burned by refereeing blunder

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Toronto FC, by virtue of defense so bad that Paolo Maldini (one of the best of all time) surely felt a disturbance in The Force and didn’t understand why, deserved to lose. Or, at very least, the Reds didn’t deserve to win Saturday.

But let’s also be very clear about this: Toronto FC was the victim of some egregiously poor refereeing by Allen Chapman, who was timid about making the necessary choices that could have easily changed this result.

SKC defender Aurelien Collin (pictured) was ever so lucky to be on the field by halftime. Already carrying a yellow card, Collin put an elbow into Alvaro Rey’s face near the penalty area. It should have been a second yellow, but Chapman barely had a word to say to the SKC center back, who has about a half-dozen of these matches each year, where he pretty much loses control and very nearly loses his mind.

But there was plenty more …

In the 73rd minute, Kansas City’s Peterson Joseph kicked Toronto’s Bobby Convey inside the penalty area. Perhaps there was enough doubt in this one for Chapman to keep the whistle quiet and not award a penalty kick, but …

Minutes later, as TFC pressed for the equalizer in an eventual 2-1 loss, there was no doubt as Collin intentionally and cynically shoved Justin Braun to the ground as the Toronto striker eyeballed a header near goal. Collin wasn’t looking at the ball nor making any effort for the ball. There was a clear goal scoring opportunity cynically denied … only Chapman and his assistants inexplicably chose to pretend that nothing happened.

(MORE: TFC sets defense back years on these two goals)

Two things to note:

Next time SKC manager Peter Vermes complains about an officiating decision that costs his team points – and the fiery Vermes will complain long and hard about pretty much every call that doesn’t go his team’s way – someone needs to remind him of this one. His team took three points when on another day, with a referee more in charge and less afraid to render a big decision, could have brought a completely different result.

And about those points: MLS matches every week, at such a critical time, are turning on refereeing mistakes. Bad ones, too … not just borderline toughies that could really go either way. Playoff spots (and by attachment, jobs) are at stake.

Major League Soccer refereeing is better this year than two or three years back, for sure. And yet there is clearly, undeniably, a long, long way to go.

Below is the elbow incident, followed by the Braun take-down:

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