On Monday, after a day to reflect and watch replays, Seattle coach Sigi Schmid stuck to in his criticism of referee Tim Weyland’s performance in the Sounders’ 1-1 draw with Los Angeles on Sunday.
And he got backing from general manager Adrian Hanauer, who expanded the topic beyond a single game or a referee into a problem of leaguewide importance.
“My bigger concern is that we are working hard here in Seattle and a lot of other teams around the country are working hard to get fans in the building and we owe a good experience to our fans,” Hanauer said. “And that means referees that maintain control of the game, referees that keep the flow of the game going, referees that don’t become the center of attention, referees that keep the players on the field – because quite frankly the fans are there to see the players, not the referees.”
In this case, it was Sounders defender James Riley who was sent off in the 57th minute, after taking a prime role in a melee of pushing and shoving among several players from both teams. Riley will remain ineligible Saturday when the Sounders visit FC Dallas.
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He becomes the third Sounder – joining higher-profile stars Kasey Keller and Fredy Moreno – to be banished in a season only eight games old.
Hanauer said MLS referees should not strip the league of such starpower lightly.
“In every other major sport in this country there are more officials, more review of plays, less severe punishments handed out for more severe infractions of the rules,” he said. “And I know that we’re also dealing with FIFA and the laws of the game, so I’m respectful of that. But when a guy like Kasey Keller sits out an extra game for a play like questionably handling the ball intentionally outside the box ... and another player gets an extra game for an extremely violent tackle, it seems maybe like the laws aren’t well calibrated for fans.”
Hanauer said he was speaking for the good of the league and was not singling out Weyland.
However, Schmid had singled out Weyland, suggesting that he had been “confused and dazed” and mentioning that he and Weyland had a history dating to Schmid’s days coaching UCLA, when he specifically requested that Weyland not work his team’s games.
Earlier this season, former Toronto coach John Carver had called Weyland “a disgrace,” and he was fined $750 for his comment.
Schmid said he doesn’t know what MLS might have in store for him.
“I can’t ever speak for the league,” he said. “… Hopefully it’ll be something that will be looked at. It doesn’t change what happened. And I do feel that the situation of the, whatever you want to call it, the melee, the fracas, the altercation that occurred, I just think that could’ve been managed better. I think it could’ve and should’ve been managed much better.”
Schmid would not say who will take Riley’s place in the starting lineup. Nor would he commit to Montero returning to the lineup this week. … The MLS’ 16th franchise, which will begin play next season, will be called the Philadelphia Union. Club colors are light blue and gold as their colors, and the crest features a coiled snake. … New York Red Bulls forward Macoumba Kandji, who had a goal and two assists in the Red Bulls’ 4-1 win over San Jose on Friday, was named MLS player of the week Monday.
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