I should introduce myself. I’m Jake Catanese, you might’ve heard me ruining the Red Bull Rant podcast from time to time or rambling about the New England Revolution over at The Bent Musket. I write a referee centered column from time to time as necessary to dissect interesting calls in MLS. I’m a certified USSF Grade 8 referee, which is basically entry level, but I’ve been refereeing in one way or another (AYSO, intramurals) for about a decade.
Perhaps my favorite column about refereeing and in-game incidents goes all the way back to an infamous Thierry Henry push in the back on Andrew Farrell into Matt Reis’ knee and a late winner by Tim Cahill. Yes, I will always be bitter about that match.
But I digress. Once A Metro sent over some interesting plays from the New York Red Bulls vs. New York City FC match last weekend, and with nothing exciting to talk about from the Revs game at Orlando City SC, I decided to go on a one-game loan to review some of the referee's and player's decisions in the match.
First on the docket: Matt Miazga’s red card. Well, actually, Miazga’s first yellow card, which despite the minimal amount of contact against Khiry Shelton is warranted. Miazga goes in late and hard in a reckless manner forcing Shelton to avoid him and no, it’s not embellishment going airborne in that situation. You’re going to see more calls like this go punished similarly I hope, where defenders will be punished not for making contact, but for obstruction.
As far as Miazga being the last man, he has a two teammates nearby, one trailing him and another coming to the center of the box. One could argue for a straight red for the tactical DOGSO, but I’m okay with the yellow in this case.
The second yellow is just silly from Miazga. Shelton cuts in front of him to draw the foul and the booking. I have no stats to back this up, but Shelton is probably among the league leaders in drawing tactical fouls and cards with his speed up front. He got Revs defender Jose Goncalves sent off for a last-man, denial-of-a-goal-scoring-opportunity foul in Week 2. In Week 10, he gets Miazga.
Credit to Shelton, but this is the growing-up phase for Miazga: he’s got to make better decisions to not only avoid fouling in that situation, but also giving Shelton enough space to cut across him and avoid the contact. There were plenty of defenders back for RBNY and his team was lucky NYCFC didn’t make the man advantage count.
Not to pick on Miazga, but I remember him upending Lee Nguyen in the midfield last year. I was in the stands at RBA for that one and I knew a straight red was coming.
We all see bad tackles that can break ankles, but too often I see Miazga make sliding challenges that he shouldn’t even attempt, and I’ll add this one against Shelton to the list. He needs to recognize where he is on the field and make better decisions to avoid getting cards. Once he does that, he’s already a pretty solid player: he’ll take the next step.
On to the play in question that OaM really wanted to know about: 66th minute, Bradley Wright-Phillips gets played in on a wonderful through ball and is in on goal. Damien Perrinelle is trailing the play off to his right, but BWP elects to shoot and Saunders makes the save.
There are two questions about offside here. First, BWP is onside, level with the last man when the ball is played, and he catches the NYCFC defense completely flat-footed thanks to an excellent pass. Second, Perrinelle was in an offside position when the ball was passed forward to BWP. Wright-Phillips himself said he was uncertain whether Perrinelle was a legitimate passing option when he had to decide whether to dish or shoot:
"As I was going through I was thinking if I passed it will he be offside and do I waste the chance. By the time I got there I just didn't do a good enough job to get it past his feet."
For the record: Perrinelle does re-establish himself behind the play as BWP goes upfield.
It’s a completely new play and once the RBNY striker is going forward, it resets Perrinelle’s position with regard to offside. BWP can freely pass the ball to Perrinelle, the ball can go forwards or backwards since Perrinelle’s coming from behind BWP anyway, and the flag will stay down. But BWP is sitting on a hat trick: he opts for goal and Saunders goes kick save and a beauty in response.
There were a couple of other smaller plays in this match that deserve comment. Dane Richards got flagged for offside despite being in his own half.
This, cannot happen in top-flight soccer. It is a mistake from an assistant referee that prevented a chance for RBNY to extend their lead and a chance to ice the game. It’s a rare call that only gets seen late in games as teams like NYCFC are pushing everyone forward for an equalizer. But it’s not that rare, and it’s common knowledge to soccer fans that being on your own half is onside.
Lastly, there was an interesting no-call that Simon Borg discussed in his Instant Replay segment this week.
At 7:15 of the video clip, Red Bulls defender Kemar Lawrence goes through NYCFC midfielder Andrew Jacobson as the two go after a ball inside the RBNY penalty area. Referee Alan Kelly does nothing, and it’s the right call.
The case for a foul on Jacobson is that his leg gets obliterated while trying to send the ball back into the area or on goal. The problem is that Lawrence is there almost simultaneously and it appears the ball deflects off the RBNY man and up into the air.
Now, if Kelly had pointed to the spot, it would be understandable given the contact but I don’t think it’s excessive. Lawrence has every right to try and chest down the ball. Indeed, we’ve seen several occasions when players get in trouble trying to play a high ball with their feet and catching an opponent in the chest.
In fairness to Lawrence, he’s trying to play a chest high ball with, surprisingly, his chest and Jacobson has jumped slightly and extended himself to play the ball. Lawrence was there first and Jacobson has only a bruise to show for his efforts.
Like the post? It’s up every now and again at The Bent Musket and I’m always happy to answer questions if you have them on Twitter. Think I’m a Miazga bashing New England Revolution homer? I probably am: send your complaints to Once A Metro or in the comments below.