Referee Guido Gonzales Jr. blew his whistle in the 56th minute after Matt Polster delayed the play of Jose Martinez. Gonzales proceeded to reach into his pocket to reveal Polster’s second yellow of the game. Just like that, the New England Revolution were down to ten men in a scoreless game against the Philadelphia Union.
Head coach Bruce Arena criticized the referee in his press conference, saying, “I think an experienced referee knows not to send a player off on a foul like that. If that’s the case, he probably would’ve sent off two players from Philadelphia with similar type of fouls playing with yellow cards.”
Before Saturday’s clash, Gonzales had been the center referee for ten MLS games, according to MLS Referee Stats on Twitter. He was averaging 3.8 yellow cards per game. He had issued four red cards and four penalties.
Arena believes this should’ve been going through Polster’s mind when he decided to slow down Martinez.
“Really not a smart play by Polster, a player playing with a yellow card,” Arena explained. “In that game, they know the kind of referee that’s doing the game. You could be sent off because of the lack of experience that referee has.”
The defensive midfielder collected his first yellow card of the night in the 8th minute. This was an indicator that Polster had to adjust his game.
Ultimately, Polster would earn his third yellow in six game in a play that Arena thought could’ve been avoided. For that, Polster got some criticism, regardless of the man in the middle.
“I think Polster made a foolish play – losing the ball and then a foul – despite the fact that I think the referee was absolutely incorrect,” Arena said.