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The 3rd Yellow: Revs vs. Impact Part 2: Communication and Game Management

Sorin Stoica might have gotten the two penalties right, but a post match comment from Jay Heaps is a huge reflection on his overall night in New England last weekend.

David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

I am not finished with you Sorin Stoica. Because I said you had an amateur performance in my first part and I need to stand by that comment.

Because Jay Heaps said something after that game that I consider the greatest insult to a referee. But before I get to that, I have to be nice first.

I didn't like the red card to Matt Reis, but that's because I don't like the rule. Others didn't like it because it's the fifth minute, it ruined the game and there might not have been a goal scoring opportunity. But it was a penalty on Reis, which was obvious. As was this one by Goncalves.

Look, the phrase if it's a foul at midfield it's a foul in the box comes into play here. It doesn't matter where it occurs, a foul is a foul. And I love NESoccerToday's Brian O'Connell and his take on the subject. And he's right, more referee's NEED to make that call.

The biggest problem I have with the penalty is just how unnecessary the challenge is by Jose. There's no reason to dive in there in that situation, Martins doesn't have an angle to goal, his touch is more towards the corner and it's not really a threatening play. Very un-Jose like defensively in a 1v1 situation.

I'm about to crush Stoica, but it's not for either of the two penalties he called last week. They were both correct. I'm about to rip Stoica a new one because of the following postmatch quote from Jay Heaps, taken from Steve's game recap:

"I had no interaction with the referee at all. I felt that there was no explanation and it was disappointing ... that's what I think was the most disappointing, just the overall demeanor toward us. That's what I feel upsets us the most."

You're telling me, that a head referee in a professional sports league isn't communicating with a head coach? Or a team captain? Or probably anyone?

If anyone ever said that to me I would probably quit. I'm dead serious. If I have a problem with something on the field, I let the coaches know. If the coaches/captains on the field have a problem with something, I listen. I don't or can't always act on the issue but in youth games I'm fully aware that ankles get clipped late, kids kick out at the ball and hit shins, etc. But this is a professional game and the referee is essentially, according to Heaps, ignoring a head coach.

"I had no interaction with the referee at all. I felt that there was no explanation and it was disappointing ... that's what I think was the most disappointing, just the overall demeanor toward us. That's what I feel upsets us the most." Jay Heaps, Revolution Head Coach

The scary thing about this? I believe Heaps. Chris Tierney gets spiked late in the first half near the box by Hassoun Camara, no call (although I could do with less of Camara asking for a card there), and it's out for a goal kick. Okay...not the end of the world, but that probably could have been a yellow on Camara and the Revs would have had a free kick in a dangerous spot down by one. But then minutes later, Felipe Martins goes over on the slightest of challenges from Scott Caldwell. Scott. Caldwell. Whistle blows.

And it's not like the Revs haven't been complaining about, oh, I don't know, the entire game. Kelyn Rowe on several occasions fought through similar contact and not once did I see as much as an advantage call.

And what happens at halftime. Goncalves has a run at Martins, explaining to him that he doesn't appreciate that sort of play. And who's there to break it up? Camara and Marco Di Vaio among others from Montreal. Not a yellow shirt in sight. Are you kidding me? Referees are supposed to be the last ones off the field to monitor stuff like that. Thankfully nothing came of the situation, but I assure you that if you have managed to completely piss of Jose Goncalves, as a center referee you have to take notice of that. Not because he's a captain but because he's a professional, and he has an issue with an opposing player. That's not good, and because you have 45 minutes left in a game that's already got one red card, as a center referee your job is to control that situation so it doesn't get out of control.

Like Kelyn Rowe's yellow card.

Yes, Rowe deserved his yellow for dissent, but only because Stoica sucks at this whole game management thing. Leading up to his foul, Rowe was whistled for a simple foul and has been fairly obvious with his displeasure with the referee for most of the half. The actual card comes on him clipping Jeb Brovsky near the sideline and the reaction afterward. Pay no attention to the AR's signal for a throw in, his job in that spot is to call his line, Stoica has whistled for a foul and Rowe more or less loses it and gets booked. Rightfully so, although the AR's flag might initially confuse some, Rowe did commit a foul while making the tackle and that came before the ball went out of bounds, so that call is correct.

Fine, but what about Patrice Bernier's contact right before that, a hand high on Rowe's shoulder, Rowe fights through it and then is challenged by Brovsky, both of which could, and Brovsky's should, have been a foul. Brovsky doesn't get the ball and forces Rowe to change directions, it's not a card, just a simple foul for obstruction or whatever you feel like calling it. Then, Rowe does get into the back of Brovsky while making a tackle and despite their protests, the call goes against the Revs.

Poor game management forced the referee into that call. Correct or no, Stoica could have avoided that by being more consistent and communicating better throughout the match (or communicating at all during the match, whatever works) so that both teams are on the same page. You can't say that well, Montreal is bigger so when they challenge it's okay to by physical because then why is Martins always on the ground?

I am getting very tired of seeing a foul by a Revs midfield player ending with someone on the ground. It's not just Martins, it's a lot of people league wide. I don't want to look up the number of yellows handed out for dives/embellishments this year, but I assure you it's not enough and the MLS DC isn't handing out enough fines after the fact.

I will also point out that I am once again not stunned the MLS DC did not take any action against the two Impact players, subs Andrea Pisanu and Daniele Paponi for their late challenges on an offside play against Bobby Shuttleworth. It's a 4-2 game with ten minutes left and two players are going after a loose ball in the box with a goalkeeper more or less on top of it. Whatever contact there is by the two Impact players in unnecessary given the situation, and Paponi I believe catches Shuttleworth in the head with a shin guard.

An earlier in the year against Shuttleworth already set a precedent, when the Vancouver Whitecaps' Kekuta Manneh clipped Shuttleworth in the head as he dove on top of the ball in almost the same game situation, final fifteen minutes, Revs trailing 4-2. Manneh was shown a yellow on the field but eventually handed a one game ban from the MLS DC for endangering the safety of his opponent. It was an unintentional play by Manneh, who realized very quickly he had done something wrong and I thought the suspension was harsh, but justified.

I would at least like to see a minimum fine or something against Paponi and/or Pisanu, just to remind the players not to challenge the keepers when they're on the ground. And that whole consistency thing, since the MLS DC suspended a player for more or less the same thing, you'd figure they'd keep that precedent.

With that said, I personally respect a lot of the players on the Montreal Impact (Felipe less so now), I think for the most part they did very well in this game to not allow emotions to boil over, mostly because they were in the lead, but this game could have gotten even more out of hand if it weren't for their professionalism and leadership from guys like Di Vaio, Bernier, etc.

I hopefully will get to post soon that consistency and transparency from MLS, MLS PRO and game referees are improving. I hopefully won't have to spend thousands of words and hours of highlights losing my mind over what I'm seeing. Because I am a referee as well and I don't want to ever be categorized as someone who doesn't communicate to coaches, players or even the refereeing crew.

Because communication and transparency are the only ways to educate everyone and grow the game professionally. If I don't tell the 11-year old what he's doing wrong, he's going to keep doing it. I consider it a professional courtesy to regularly communicate with coaches as a center ref or an AR. And I consider it very unprofessional to not explain a call or rule to a player/coach if they ask.

Is it so hard to ask a professional referee to do the same?

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