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Ref talk continues, “teachable moments,” vote Union youth, more news

Photo: Barb Colligon

Philadelphia Union

The Washington Times has an opinion piece on Mark Geiger’s call to wave off Dwayne De Rosario’s successful penalty kick because of encroachment in Sunday’s draw. The link in the the article to a page on the US Soccer website about how referees should handle “trifling” fouls is also well worth reading.

ProSoccerTalk highlights Alexi Lalas’ comments about the re-kick on his podcast, The Shot. Lalas says,

“Six-second goalkeeper violations, defenders grabbing on corners or encroachment are all undeniably against the rules.  Yet they happen all the time and are rarely called. But it’s like speeding; It’s a calculated risk. Telling the cop that everyone else is doing it is not an excuse, especially if you’re going 90 in a 55. Or, as in this case, if you’re already two steps in the box before the PK is even taken. The thing is, there are plenty of actual referee mistakes to scream about. So when players, coaches or fans gripe about a rare, but correct call, it rings hollow. You played the odds and lost. Now take your medicine and move on—and maybe get a Fuzz Buster.”

Pointing to comments from DC manager Ben Olsen and DC president Kevin Payne, ProSoccerTalk says it’s one thing to criticize bad calls, but saying that referees are looking for the spotlight is going too far.

The DCist managed to get a few comments out of Geiger after the game. In their words, “It’s not often you get a chance to speak to a referee, as they’re usually whisked away by security and unavailable to the media after a match. I did manage to get a hold of Mark Geiger, though. He was—I shit you not—TEACHING A CLINIC for local youth soccer refs after the match. Oh, the irony. Don’t be surprised if your six-year-old gets red carded in their next game by one of the refs who listened to Geiger’s drivel.”

Recounting the series of bad calls made by Geiger, MLS Talk concludes, “Common sense is the key in my book. No referee is going to be perfect, but I believe if a referee uses common sense to guide their choices for punishment, the players will follow suit and show respect for the official as well as each other.”

John Hackworth said of the draw, “A point on the road in this league is really important. And we haven’t had that. For us to get a point on the road, no matter all the craziness, it’s important for this team. We’re young and have to be able to learn from this…But the fact is we didn’t play great in the second half and that was our fault. We could have scored a second goal. I think we should have scored two. We will talk about that. We will talk about execution. At the same time, we did what needed to do in a very hostile environment. This is a positive effort for us that we have a result in this kind of atmosphere. There are a lot of teachable moments from this game.”

Brian Carroll’s goal against DC United was his against his former team on the road in the past two seasons, the previous two coming in US Open Cup games. With just six goals in his ten-year career, Carroll describes his reaction to scoring, “Surprise. And I’m glad I don’t have to run back and defend right away.”

The Inside Doop says the blame for the own goal by Amobi Okugo should probably be placed on Zac MacMath. “If you watch the replay, MacMath could have probably caught the free kick out of the air and avoided the miscommunication with Okugo, who has been an excellent defender for Philly over the past couple of months.”

More on the game from SI, The Guardian, Philly Soccer News, Tribalfootball.com, and the Examiner.

Carlos Valdes was named to ProSoccerTalk’s Team of the Week.

In the latest power rankings at Goal.com, the Union drop one spot to No. 14. At ESPN, they remain at No. 13. At SI, they remain at No. 15.

Vote now for your top 24 MLS players under the age of 24. If you vote a straight ticket, Union players will take up 16 of the 24 spots. Fan voting closes on Friday, August 24 at 5pm.

At MLS UK, one writer says, “As a young aspiring coach watching John Hackworth makes me cringe. The guy is bloody clueless tactically…This guy is not a first team coach, he is not even a reserve team coach and really he should take a job in the director box or front office.” The writer also believes the Union could use a DP, namely Michael Ballack, Michael Owen, Emile Heskey, Owen Hargreaves, or, perhaps, that Ronaldinho fellow. “For all you Union fans out there, your club as no reason not to sign players like Owen and Ballack. They have the financial power, your club deserves a DP, and so do you.”

On Monday, the School of Rock recorded a segment that will be broadcast on an upcoming installment of State of the Union


Here’s a brief report from Charleston about Saturday’s USL Pro playoff match between the Battery and Harrisburg City Islanders.


MLS Executive Vice President of Communications Dan Courtemanche tweeted a chart on Monday that shows that MLS is currently ranked No. 8 worldwide for average attendance for professional football. Here are the latest attendance figures.

US Soccer Players considers the issue of players and team officials openly criticizing referee decisions. “MLS, and the US Soccer Federation who assigns the referees, can’t have a league where blanket criticism is allowed week after week.  That erodes any authority the referees possess.  At the same time, there’s a concurrent problem of treating refereeing decisions as beyond reproach.”

Questions about officiating decisions on the field are joined by questions about the Disciplinary Committee after Vancouver Whitecaps were informed less than 24 hours before their game against Seattle on Saturday that Barry Robson would be suspended for “aggravated dissent.” TSN.ca writes, “One of the biggest obstacles that MLS has to overcome is the notion that the league makes its rules up as it goes along…If MLS is ever to fulfill its ambition and enter the debate over the top leagues in the world, it not only needs to continue to improve the on-field product, but it also must improve its off-field protocols.”

Peter Walton, the general manager of the Professional Referee Organization, is the guest on the ExtraTime Radio podcast.

The Drug is Football has a post based on an anonymous email that claims that New England Revolution owner Bob Kraft is considering a proposal to sell the franchise to an out of state owner who would then relocate the club outside of New England. New England Soccer Today reports that the club’s director of communications says there is no truth in the email and that the club’s president describes it as a hoax.

Does MLS still need European imports to provide greater tactical sophistication? The Shin Guardian considers.


While viewership of the Mexico v USA game averaged only 797,000 on ESPN2, down a quarter from the numbers for the game in Philadelphia last year, at Univision it averaged 4.5 million viewers with some 9.4 million viewers tuning in for part or all of the game. That made the match the top rated program in primetime “among adults 18-49, adults 18-34, men 18-49 and men 18-34—beating ABC, CBS, FOX and NBC.”

Our Game Magazine rounds up the results from the U-20 Women’s World Cup, where the US started off with a 4–0 win over Ghana on Monday.

Philly Union Talk begins a week long series looking at the USMNT under Jurgen Klinsmann.


The billionaire George Soros has revealed he owns a 7.85 percent minority stake in Manchester United.



  1. Anyone who would recommend the purchase of Michael Owen or Emile Heskey is out of his mind.

  2. James "4-3-3" Forever says:

    Man, when I hear a UK writer was writing about the Union I was excited. I am still hard on American voices in soccer and I was looking forward to well reasoned, well thought out, European opinion to the Unions problems. Instead, I got stuff like this: Peter Nowak is a winner. … The man knew what it took to win. His termination stinks. … Under Nowak last season Union were a playoff team and now they look like a team that have a long way to go to getting back there.
    Also, I take offense to his love fest for DPs. First of all, he is wrong we DO have a DP (Adu), and secondly with a young team that, with Hackworth, is clearly back to the youth revolution, a DP is a bad idea. I’d like instead to focus on all our youth, creating a team identically tactically, and seeing what these players can do with time instead of giving big money to some old guy and giving him a guaranteed 90 minutes and hoping it works out.

    • Disagree, James. We do need a good quality DP who makes a difference (like Cahill who banged in a crucial goal in his 2nd game). A team that wants to achieve big things needs balance; not just youth. Also agree with the writer that Hackworth’s tactical capacity is questionable.

      • James "4-3-3" Forever says:

        Good quality is the key phrase there. I want a well thought out player, playing a position of need and some who fits in 100% with our identity.
        I DON’T want to become one of those teams where “We need a DP!” is their default method of improving the team, where they scour Europe for the biggest name player over the age of 33, and throw him into their lineup and just sit back and hope it works.
        That is what I hate about the DP system. It becomes more about bringing in the big name, big dollar star instead of actually developing your own players or creating a team through shrewd management and quality tactics.

    • I agree it is interesting that there are people in the UK who are watching the US/CA “soccer” league. (The Guardian covers MLS, but that’s just to increase their already vast global readership. And it’s working.) But I read that article/post and it is a bit humorous. It’s like it was dictated on his phone with minimal editing. It is unarguable that Petr has won. He has won at multiple levels, and it’s why everyone (everyone including you, reader, admit it) was excited when he took the job as Union coach. What happened in the first six months of 2012, well, much has been written about it, and of course there’s some controversy, but things were deteriorating rapidly. I don’t know how anyone could follow this team and not be shocked at what happened. So thanks for your interest MLSfanfromUK, but I don’t see anyone at PPL Park with “We Miss You Petr” T shirts or signs.

  3. It is commendable that the League hired Peter Walton. Hopefully he can sort Geiger out. All-in-all I think that the standard is slowly improving.

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