CONCACAF Champions League: Disgraceful Referee Decisions KO MLS Teams

Reynaldo Anderson (R) of Panama's Arabe Unido fights for the ball with Gabe Gala of Toronto FC during their CONCACAF Champions League soccer match in Panama City August 24, 2010. REUTERS/Alberto Lowe (PANAMA - Tags: SPORT SOCCER)

I couldn’t believe what I was watching on Fox Soccer Channel last night. While doing my live radio Internet show I decided to keep an eye on my TV and see what was happening between Panama’s Arabe Unido & Canada’s Toronto FC. Watching the match I was in disbelief as once again Arabe Unido was flopping all over their home field and the ref just allowed them to get away with murder.

The goal for Unido was legitimate as a corner kick in the 40th minute was sent towards and settled down by Fidel Caesar and smacked over the goal line where the Toronto FC defender was a good foot past the goal line as he tried to clear it out. But afterwards comedy ensued and it was a sad display of officiating from El Salvadorian Referee Marlon Mejia.

Every single time a Unido player was barely touched, he would go down in a heap and start rolling around in pain and shaking their right hand as if it was stepped on. Or just a light challenge was enough to knock them down and act like they have been seriously hurt. While the Nick LaBrocca challenge in the 50th minute on Unido keeper Jose Calderon was not good, it was clearly a 50-50 ball and a yellow card. Sadly Mejia pulled out the red, but when you looked at the replay Calderon lifted his head after the contact was made, and a few seconds later he rested his head on the field turf and quickly raised his hands to his face.

Then the second red card came on Fuad Ibrahim after a succession of shots by TFC to equalize. All of a sudden a yellow card was shown to Ibrahim in the 87th minute. And while Julian DeGuzman was talking to Mejia, a Red Card was shown to Ibrahim and he was sent off. Ibrahim said absolutely nothing to Mejia and got sent off for no reason.

But the biggest disgrace was in the second match as the Columbus Crew traveled down to Mexico and faced Santos Laguna. It all started when Emilio Renteria got elbowed in his forehead and was cut. He was forced off to get his head stitched and bandaged up to stop the bleeding. Plus he had to change his jersey. Once the referee allowed Renteria to come back on the field, he was able to serve a beautiful ball towards Andy Iro and scored a big goal. Sadly that was wiped out as Renteria re-entered the match with a new shirt that never had a number.

But the incompetency went to the officials again as the responsibility was in the hands of the fourth official who should’ve brought Renteria back to the sidelines and told him to get a shirt with a number on the back. You could see Renteria running back to the field, stopping to ask the fourth official if it was okay, and was told to return.

The blatant stupidity of the referee’s caused the Crew to lose a legitimate lead and no matter what happened afterwards, either it would’ve been a scoreless draw or a one goal win by Santos Laguna it was always going to be highway robbery. If Laguna was the better side then I can give them the win, but these officials found a way to keep this win-less record for MLS sides in international competition on Mexican soil to continue and that is wrong.

If CONCACAF wants to be seen as a legitimate Confederation, they need to weed out the horrible on-field officials and make sure that they know the laws of the game from the first law, all the way to the last. If Jack Warner can’t be seen to govern this tournament wisely, it’s time for FIFA to step in and control the tournament themselves.

30 thoughts on “CONCACAF Champions League: Disgraceful Referee Decisions KO MLS Teams”

  1. Daniel,
    I couldn’t agree with you more. I just started following CONFACAF CCL and US Open Cup, and ill tell you i like the Open Cup better because the refs are fairer. Something must be done or the US and Canadian Soccer Fans are never going to take the CCL seriously. System is Corrupted and needs to be cleansed.

  2. Amen Daniel! Why doesn’t MLS or U.S. Soccer stand up to this crap that happens in Mexico every single time we go down there? Is there any other situation like this in all of sports where the odds are so stacked against a visiting team? And as you said, it would be one thing if Mexican sides were significantly better, but the gap has now closed. MLS teams are right there in quality and MLS was robbed last night of at least a point, and probably a victory.

    1. What the hell is wrong with you???? The gap is FAR from being closed. Are you kidding me??? Mexican teams are WAY better, it’s not even close!!! Are you retarded?

      1. Then why did a Crew team without their two best players, their starting goalkeeper, and several other starters almost win in Mexico? Why did Cruz Azul almost get beat if not for a miracle comeback? Yes, Mexican teams are still better. But the gap is closing significantly. And the ridiculous officiating of this past week proves the gap is closing. There’s no doubt an American team would win in Mexico tomorrow if there existed a level playing field.

        1. Mexican teams half ass this tournament until only Mexican teams are left. They play their C and D teams. They try not to waste any energy because they have league games on the weekend to worry about. If they wanted to go full throttle, they’d demolish you.

          Mexican teams get screwed by refs just as much if not more. It all balances out. That’s how football is. Get a clue.

          The Mexican League is a quality league and your league is shit. Deal with it. The MFL will ALWAYS be way better. The gap will never come close to being closed.

  3. It’s worth pointing out that this happens in the Gold Cup and, more importantly, the World Cup Qualifying as well.

    If they can’t get neutral refs for Qualifying, they’ll never get them for the GC or CCL :

  4. I was so pissed over yesterday’s game. The ref was a disgrace, more than the diving on the pitch. But I think what lost us the game was that ridiculously stupid lineup by Preki.

    CONCACAF referees are the worst in the world and it does not matter which country they come from. All of them are terrible.

    “The bla­tant stu­pid­ity of the referee’s caused the Crew to lose a legit­i­mate lead and no mat­ter what hap­pened after­wards, either it would’ve been a score­less draw or a one goal win by San­tos Laguna it was always going to be high­way rob­bery.”

    I hate this type of logic. Every goal forces you to change tactics, your style of play, etc. Who is to say Columbus don’t go on and blow them out? Or Santos Laguna score after Columbus’ goal and Columbus replies?

  5. you guys talk about the blatant stupidity of the referre’s causing the Crew to lose a legitimate lead but what about the blatant stupidity of the player or the staff of the Crew, who puts a shirt without number … and runs back to the pitch…what about the Crew .. they are supposed to be a profesional team but well .. What a love about this blog are the last 2 paragrahs .. bla bla bla blame the mexicans .. bla bla bla concacaf crap bla bla bla .. well dear Daniel Feuerstein …maybe you should stop spreading hate ….

    1. Here’s a thought moron. There is absolutely no rule, I repeat, NONE in FIFA that requires a player to wear a numbered jersey. Complete and total bollocks.

    2. I’m not spreading hate, like you think we Americans like to do. The arguement was towards the officials who screwed Columbus on a legit goal. Read the laws of the game book and see why they messed up.

      If you can’t see bad officiating, then you are blind like CONCACAF.

      1. Agreed – anyone who has ever watched any level of soccer on a regular basis knows that it is not that unusual for a bloody player to have to change his shirt. And when that happens, it is nearly ALWAYS a blank shirt with no name/number.

  6. No hating here!!!
    but I do feel injustice was done on both games. I whole heartedly agree on actoins should be taken by Concacaf ruling board (if there is one). For things like this to be reviewed and taken seriously.
    There is a plus and that is concacaf competition is getting more competitive especially on MLS clubs vs FMF clubs which I enjoy watching.

  7. The real disgrace is the MLS teams sending B squads to a continental competition. If you don’t treat the competition with respect, you have no sympathy from me. If you send an A squad, then maybe imperfect officiating doesn’t come into play.

    (Oh and the red card on the TFC player who went studs up into the keeper was absolutely justified)

    1. Brian said:(Oh and the red card on the TFC player who went studs up into the keeper was absolutely justified)

      Brian I can definetly tell you that Nick LaBrocca never went studs up on the keeper. He tried to pull out of the tackle and it was his legs tucked in that got the keeper.

      If the challenge was studs up then the keeper wouldn’t have kept his head up and then rest it on the field turf which followed his hands covering his face in pain. After the replay, the keeper for Unido had a smile on his face.

      No studs up. Good try though.

    2. the real disgrace is that mexican teams are sending their B list squad and mls clubs are still getting schooled. to be honest the partiy structure doesnt allow for much depth on the roster and thats the big issue when it comes to MLS clubs competing agaisnt CCL. its the roster depth. a “A” squad isnt much different from the B squad expect for maybe 1 or 2 regular starting players off. but i do agree cocacaf refs make our confed. the least respected confed. in the world and the fact that we cant even dominatre in it makes it worse

  8. I too am sick of all the excuses and the whining when MLS teams lose. The Galaxy go down hard to the Islanders and they downplay the loss, all the while prepping for an overhyped friendly with Real Madrid (a pre-season game for Christ’s sake). Toronto gets beat in Panama by a team in a baseball country with just 3 million inhabitants and of course, it’s the refs fault. The poor pitch, the killer 6 hour flight to Latin America, CONCACAF is the modern day re-incarnation of the Cosa Nostra – The litany of excuses goes on and on.

    The fact of the matter is when you step between the lines, the pitch is the same for everybody and blaming the officials every time an MLS team loses anywhere is just weak – and borderline racist.

    It seems like every comentator and every blogger thinks that unless you are from the US or Canada, you are completely unqualified to referee an international contest – and that Latin American and Carribean refs all have some sort of vendetta against MLS clubs – and that is BS.

    The Galaxy, TFC Real Salt Lake and every other MLS club who gets hosed down south has only themselves to blame. The real story here are the scrappy, fighting, Mexican, Carribean and Central American clubs who are seizing their opportunities and playing their best soccer when it matters most, while the MLSers mail it in and their blogger and commentator apologists look to blame the Latino boogie man.

    Shame on Y’all. I for one am rooting for Arabe Unido and the Puerto Rico Islanders. Get ready for your next round of lame excuses.

    Pete DeMay

    1. Amen pete, amen. you seem to be the only one making any sense. and to any one who thinks the “gap is closing” or “MLS is a quality league” you couldnt be telling a bigger lie. and in the bigger picture we only have the LEAGUE to blame because all mls clubs are owned/runned by the league. all the players are situated to their respected clubs by the LEAGUE and also the LEAGUE creates all these rules, regulations and restrictions that create a fair, parity like structure in the domestic league. which is alright (sort of, personally like most real soccer fans, like to see clubs go at it instead of everyone having a fair shot at the cup) but when it comes to international play those league rules and regulations come back to bite us in the butt. If MLS wants to really succeed both domestically and internationally AND be respected around the world then take off the damn training wheels. im tired of our mediocre soccer league.

  9. Daniel, I’m not quite sure what “good try” means as I was rooting for TFC in that game and for MLS teams in CCL in general. What I do know is that when I saw the play at full speed, I cringed. And when I saw the replay, it didn’t look less bad. I don’t mean disturb this excuse-making orgy but it was the right call.

    Columbus got screwed in their game because Renteria was waved on by the fourth official. That’s clearly the official’s (or officials’) fault. But in general, Peter’s right. MLS teams ALWAYS make excuses for losing in this competition. The real reason they suck in this competition is not primarily the officiating (everyone in the world whines about that). The reason they suck in this competition is because MLS teams, all too often, refuse to play their best XI. They don’t win because they don’t deserve to win, because they don’t take it seriously. It’s that simple.

  10. You don’t prove you’re better by “almost” getting a result nor by sending a B team down there and then making constant excuses when you lose.

    Since the CCL started, there have been 16 quarterfinalists. 8 from the Mexican league and only 2 from MLS (and oh, by the way, 2 from the “Second Division” USL).

    8 semifinalists. 7 from the Mexican League, 1 from the “Second Division” USL and 0 from MLS.

    Of the last 18 finalists (CCL and CCC), 15 from the Mexican League, 3 from the Costa Rican League and 0 from MLS.

    And MLS teams often get MORE teams in the tournament than does any other league (when TFC wins the Canadian championship).

    So if the league that usually has the most teams involved never sends anyone deep into the competition, I don’t think anyone with a straight face can say it’s anything close to being the best league. Results speak for themselves, not yap or marketing hype.

    If MLS teams thought they had a chance in the competition, they wouldn’t send B teams down there. Their actions speak louder than your words.

    I give RSL credit for taking the competition seriously and I hope they do well. I WANT to see MLS teams do well. But neither sending B teams down there nor making constant excuses will make that happen. We fans need to stop buying into MLS HQ’s hype that it’s one of the best second-tier leagues in the world just because KC can beat Man Utd’s kids in a preseason friendly. You prove your rep by getting results in competitive matches (esp. away from home), by fighting through adversity, not by sending your B team out and there and then using it as a crutch when they don’t get it done.

  11. Let’s stop being ostriches. If we want to consider ourselves even the 2nd best league in CONCACAF (let alone challenge the FMF), then realistically we shouldn’t have much trouble with anyone other than the Mexican teams and maybe Saprissa. And once in a great while, we should be getting away results against those teams.

  12. Ok, this seems to be the elephant in the room here, but I’m gonna say it:

    A lot of people from Latin American countries feel some kind of kinship with all the other Latin American countries. They stick together. For example, if Mexico is playing France, most Colombians will be rooting for Mexico. If Argentina is playing Japan, most Guatamalans will support Argentina. If Ecuador is playing Canada, most Hondurans will support Ecuador. With this in mind, I doubt the impartiality of a El Salvadorian ref in a match between American and Panamanian teams.

  13. All you little white boys do is make excuses because your teams suck. Face the facts. Mexicans are just plain better. We take your women and now we’re taking your country (which isn’t even yours, it’s the Indians’). We are superior to you. End of.

    1. There are many Latinos, like myself, that support the MLS. I think you shouldn’t take sports so personally, it distorts your logic, and can eventually lead to high blood pressure. Any person with a sane mind can conclude that many of the officiating in games that involve MLS teams are tilted in favor of the opposition. Referees make mistakes, but to make so many blatant errors at this level is a disgrace to CONCACAF and the MLS teams, who are in fact taking the tournament seriously. The Sounders ownership even charted a jet to transport the team to San Pedro Sula when they faced Marathon.

      The dynamic of the game changes when players see the referee making horrible calls. This is what we’re protesting. The Mexican league has been in business far longer than the MLS which was established in 1996. When we compare the ages of the teams in both leagues it becomes pretty evident the amount of quality that has accumulated in 14 years. MLS is reaching parity to the Mexican league and will surpass it financially and in quality very soon. I’m basing my prediction on the sheer size of the USA, and the efforts by MLS officials to win the interest of the many Americans that enjoy watching the CL and EPL.

      The claims “We take you women and now we’re taking your country” only prove that you’ve taken an almost irrelevant issue too personally. You need to relax. Glory on the football field is only an illusion of glory. You haven’t really won anything relevant. You’ve proven to us that you have nothing. I wish you good luck, you’re going to need it.

      1. There is no bias against the league. Why would there be? There is, however, a bias for your league because it gets too many slots.

        You may think it will surpass the Mexican League, but you’re wrong. People have been saying that for at least 10 years now. Mexico continues to dominate.

        Glory on the football field is glory. It’s a great thing. Don’t say we’ve “won nothing”, because you wouldn’t be saying that if the other league actually won something. You’re being an idiot.

        You’re just an uncle tom who brown noses the white man. You should support the country of your heritage. Otherwise, you’re just the whities’ bitch.

        1. I’ll ignore this insecure twit’s racist comments as it’s an obvious attempt at trolling.

          But the one point he does make is how long is MLS going to continue to keep the number of slots it has while its teams never go deep into the competition and regularly flame out early.

        2. Obviously the only person that’s being an idiot is you. I’m not the one making unsupported claims, assumptions, and generalizations. I never said that there was a bias against MLS teams. All I said was that the referees are making stupid mistakes which are having negative effects on MLS teams. Why is this happening? I do not know. But clearly something must be done about this.

          Victory on the football field is only a victory to those who are on the pitch for ninety minutes. It is they who leave every last drop of energy on that pitch. For most of the fans, it is only an illusion of glory. Except in their minds, they were not the ones who contributed to the victory. It’s funny how so many people fail to wake up from the stupid dream. Fortunately I do understand why this is: they have nothing else in this life. They are the ones that dance until dawn chanting their colors, as if it were they that played on that pitch. They are the ones that wear the badge with pride as if it were they who made that tactical change, or that winning assist, or that winning goal — all of this as a result of them having nothing else in this life to be proud about.

          I try to remain as objective as possible. I enjoy watching teams battle each other on the football pitch. Football is a beautiful game. For the first time in my life I’m watching more games that involve MLS teams than I do games that involve EPL teams. And this is because of the increasing number of MLS games that are actually entertaining. Quality and intelligence are finally beginning to creep into the league.

          MLS will dwarf the Mexican league. Denying this demonstrates a person’s ignorance of economics. Mexico is a footballing nation and the Mexican league has reached its maximum capacity. The MLS is new and so is the sport in this country, yet Mexican teams are only marginally better, even after reaching its potential. There is still tremendous room for the MLS to grow in this country, and when it does, it will rival the leagues of UEFA, if not dwarf them as well.

          I should support the country of my heritage in what way? I’m not willing to bore myself watching Salvadoran teams play all in the name of “supporting my heritage.” That would be stupid and a waste of my time. I pay for entertainment, not to watch familiar colors or names.

          1. You are an absolute and total idiot. You’re the one making unsupported claims, assumptions and generalizations.

            1st of all, referee mistakes are affecting ALL TEAMS. Everyone gets screwed and everyone benefits. It all balances out.

            2nd. You think that passionate football fans have no life? Nothing can be further from the truth. It’s because football fans have good jobs, beautiful women and a good lives, is why they have free time to passionately support a football club. Man, you are seriously stupid. You wouldn’t say any of this if the mickeymouse league or your homeland’s league were any good. But they are shit. So now you say nothing but stupidities.

            People who celebrate their team’s victories have many more things in their lives to be proud about. They’re not losers like you.

            The mml will never dwarf the Mexican League. EVER. Get that thru your thick skull. It is NOT at maximum capacity, it is still growing. New stadiums are being built. New TV contracts are being signed. You ain’t seen nothing yet, boy.

            Mexican teams are far more than marginally better. We play our C teams, and still crush usa teams. Easily. You’re delusional.

            The sport is not new to the USA. It’s been here since the 1800s. People just don’t care about it. You can’t blame them when usa footy fans are a bunch of morons who think they’re better than they are. In addition to all being nerdy little dorks.

            You live in a fantasy world, boy. If you stayed loyal to teams like Firpo and Isidro Metapan, I’d respect you. But you’re nothing but a sell-out uncle tom.

  14. I think the 11 year old posting under “Mexico is better” really needs to lay off the Mountain Dew.

    If he’s an “adult,” then he needs to get on valium right away.

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