Let’s quickly set the record straight about Mark Geiger’s refereeing performance from Sunday night, as Real Salt Lake advanced past Portland in the Western Conference finals: The guy did fine.
I’ve been critical of Geiger before; he seems to do well enough when summoned for international duty, but he sometimes goes lenient and lax when manning the middle in MLS. (It makes you wonder what institutional impediments exist that might keep these guys from being at their best when the assignments come from Major League Soccer?)
But he did little wrong at Jeld-Wen Field on Sunday night – although I am sure some of the good members of the Timbers Army will disagree. That’s called being a “fan,” and thank goodness for them.
Still … No, Lovel Palmer didn’t deserve a straight red for his early, bad tackle on Will Johnson. Admittedly, it looked worse on first view. On the replay, the reasonable among us would probably agree that a caution was the right call.
The controversial pushing call on Rodney Wallace? It was the right choice 100 percent of the time. When a player raises his arms and pushes off so obviously, it’s an easy-breezy choice for the referee. Yes, worse goes on in these corner kick donnybrooks. But painfully obvious fouls must be whistled. Period.
(MORE: Real Salt Lake downs Portland, advances to MLS Cup 2013)
The “goal” later in the half that was disallowed for offside? Even the most partisan fans would nod their noggin in agreement on that one.
The bigger take-away here for me: I wonder if we get so used to complaining about MLS refereeing (I am Chief Engineer on this bullet train of complaint!) that perhaps we are guilty of looking past the performances that go right.