I want everyone to know the following things before I get started. I am a Grade 8 (entry level) USSF referee and have been for the last 4 years and have been a referee in some capacity (AYSO, intramural) for the last 10. I am about as good a center referee as Juan Guzman is but I rule the sidelines as an assistant and I'm perfectly fine admitting that. I'm also a journalist (well, journalism major) and can very easily separate my rooting interests and my profession.
Basically, despite being a Revs fan, I know that Andrew Farrell absolutely deserved a red card yesterday against the Vancouver Whitecaps. No slow motion replays, no pictures of Kenny Miller tripping over his feet (he did, but that's not the point) and second guessing after watching the play again. I saw it live the first time and knew once the whistle had blown that Farrell was gone.
Here's Farrell's mistake (besides getting beat initially), he reaches out and pushes/grabs/touches Miller in the back. Everything after that and the extent of the contact is irrelevant. As a referee, I can argue that the contact in the back causes Miller to go off balance while he's shooting. Also, I'm fairly certain that Farrell clips one of Millers legs while they're running, which definitely makes the contact a foul. Since Farrell is the last defender and he denied a goal scoring opportunity, that's back pocket every time.
The other problem with Farrell is that since he falls down, it really looks like he's pulled down Miller and gone down with him. Now the last replay that you see from behind the net (:54 second mark) is the best angle I have to prove Guzman is correct. Farrell reaches out, and might make contact with Miller, and he certainly looks like he clips Miller's leg unintentionally and that causes Miller to trip over himself. Unintentional or no, it's a foul, last defender, red card. And remember, Guzman is about 20 yards or so behind the play seeing this from field level and more or less directly in front of him. I don't see how in the world he can't assume that Farrell has reached out and pulled down Miller.
The best reference I have for a similar play is former Rev and current Chicago Fire Jeff Larentowicz's red vs. Montreal. Now, the foul and the result are is the same, Larentowicz clips the heel of the Montreal player outside the box and is red carded. Now, I disagree with the center ref here, because I don't think Larentowicz is the last defender (it's a 4 v 1 including GK Sean Johnson), but, despite all that, I know why the red card was issued. The two fouls by Farrell and Larentowicz deny a goal scoring opportunity to their opponents.
And please stop thinking about an appeal here to the MLS DC. Don't comment about it, don't bring in up in conversation and generally get used to not having Farrell for the next league game June 29 at Chivas, because that would be a miracle if A) an appeal was actually filed by the Revs and B) it was overturned (and C] the Revs weren't fined for a frivolous appeal or whatever that rule is). This is not the type of foul that can really be disputed. The last defender/denial of a goal scoring opportunity foul is pretty clear. The Chicago Fire did file an appeal, with a much better case on the Larentowicz foul, and it got denied. Now can Miller get a fine for embellishing the call, perhaps, but I'd doubt that too.
Also, the final nail in the coffin, is Farrell's reaction. Pretty much zero argument from him as Guzman helps him up and sends him off. That tells me that Farrell knows contact was made, even incidental, and he's pretty sure he's going off.
Look, Juan Guzman didn't have a great game yesterday and I hope he'd be the first to admit that. However he got this one right. I don't expect everyone to think like me, but I would ask that you at least try to understand why a referee makes a certain call. And remember not to watch any replays but the live one because a referee doesn't have those views/angles to look at. He's got one. And if you're going to write a comment about such things on a message board, at least know the rules. The comments section for the Rev's recap/commentary on MLSSoccer.com is plainly comical. Now if you want such plays to be reviewed or make it possible for a referee to see a replay before sending someone off, talk to Sepp Blatter (or Don Garber) about it.
Now, did I like the play yesterday? Not particularly. It was I guess a "soft" penalty as people like to say. But I'm more upset that Farrell put himself in a position to pick up a red card. I know we all love him, his ability and his play this year, but that was certified stupid and showed a tremendous lack of situational awareness. So Miller rounds Bobby and scores. Big deal, Revs are still up 2-1 and it's 11 v 11 and the Revs were dominant in the first 20 minutes of the game. If you want to complain about some in a message board, complain about Farrell, or the Revs play for the rest of the first half, or Jay Heaps inability to reorganize his squad tactically. Yes, even Guzman's overall game as the center ref if you want.
But not this call. This one he got right.