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Referee Once Again Fails to Dole Out Punishment

For the fourth time in months, a Red Bull player gets fouled harshly, and the offending party doesn't get properly punished for it.

Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Late in the New York Red Bulls' 2-0 victory over Toronto FC, Kosuke Kimura fell to ground after being fouled, and subsequently took a ball and foot to the head, courtesy of Jonathan Osorio. You would think that this is a naturally occuring event in a soccer match as referee Edvin Jurisevic didn't even give out a Red Card. It's also conspicuously missing from the highlights from MLS' YouTube page.

On the bright side, the Red Bulls got revenge on the ensuing free kick from the original foul, with Fabian Espindola scoring a header from a crazy angle.

This is becoming something of a symptom, where referees don't dole out proper punishment for actions that harm Red Bull players. Against Real Salt Lake, Yordany Alvarez was given a Yellow, when it should it have been a red, for a harsh tackle on Tim Cahill, which resulted in him missing three games. At least that foul got a follow up from the MLS Disciplinary Committee.

The following week, against Sporting Kansas City, Kimura suffered a concussion after taking an elbow to the head (Video not available). No punishment was handed out at all for this incident.

Two weeks ago, Cahill was again the victim of a harsh tackle from D.C. United, this time in the penalty box, which should have resulted in at least a Yellow, probably a Red. Cahill has missed two games for the Red Bulls, and international games for Australia. Once again, the disciplinary committee failed to take proper action.

If the Professional Referee Organization, run by Major League Soccer, really is trying to make the game better, they need to start taking care of dirty plays. Cahill is lucky right now that he doesn't have a broken ankle or worse, and that he'll be back at some point. Kimura is lucky to not have suffered a second concussion in two months. By not doling out punishment in game, the referees are telling all teams that it's open season on not just Red Bull players, but all players in the league.