What a fantastic match this was down at Robertson Stadium in Houston, Texas. The action was hot and heavy along with the terrible weather this time of the season and of course the first league match for Thierry Henry with the New York Red Bulls facing the Dynamo.
The action got started in the first ten minutes of the match when Carlos Mendes made a quick pass to Henry and attacked down the near side. With Adrian Serioux marking him, Henry made a few quick moves and a nice cross to an on-coming Juan Pablo Angel who fought off his defender and converts his tenth of the season & for Henry his first assist in Major League Soccer.
But an equalizer came from the Dynamo on the penalty spot as Joseph Ngwenya was taken down in the area by Carlos Mendes. Brad Davis in the 24th minute calmly took the spot kick and converts past Bouna Coundoul. But once again the combination of Angel & Henry teamed up for a second goal in the 58th minute as a nice slotted pass from Henry found Angel on sides and a hard chip shot past Talley Hall for his second of the match and eleventh of the season.
But as the match was getting close to second half stoppage time, a 90th minute equalizer from the Dynamo steals a point when Andrew Hainault made a long cross towards the area and out of nowhere Brian Mullan puts a head on the ball and beats Bouna Coundoul inside the near post. Great action from both sides on this night, but once again ugly & horrendous officiating must be pointed out and US Soccer must be made aware of what’s going on.
Tonight’s match official Paul Ward was just absolutely horrible and made terrible decisions that nearly caused confusion and worse, challenges that were extreme weren’t punished or light challenges that were. Before the call for the Dynamo’s penalty in the 21st minute Danny Cruz made a rash & dangerous studs up tackle on Roy Miller that wasn’t called or carded which kept him down on the ground.
But when that challenge wasn’t shown red a mysterious and typical foul was as Lovel Palmer tried to get the ball in the 44th minute but accidentally got Carlos Mendes as he was clearing the ball. The play was a foul as Mendes got bumped down, but all of a sudden a Red Card came out of the back pocket of Paul Ward and shown towards Palmer.
What has happened throughout the years with the on-field officials within MLS and the lower levels of US Soccer has been a lack of respect to the players and a lack of respect to the laws of the game that they are suppose to be enforcing. As supporters of the game here in North America we expect our on-field officials to improve the quality of play just as much as the players do on the pitch.
For the last several years there has been a lack of quality where the officials assume they are bigger than the game and who pays the price for some of their incompetance, the players, the coaches and the supporters of the game. This was a fabulous two all draw that got disgraced by Paul Ward who can’t tell the difference between a reckless two footed challenge & just bumping down a player to get the ball.
If the quality of play doesn’t get recognized for improvement the incompetency of our officials will be called into question. I understand there will be bad matches, but I’m sorry these referee’s are suppose to be the best that US Soccer has to offer and right now Paul Ward just isn’t good enough in my view.