Sunday, April 17, 2016

Sunday MLS: PRO referess strike again in Orlando-New England draw

Orlando City 2-2 New England Revolution
Ever since Kaka returned to the Lions, Orlando City have looked very good. He got the first goal in this one today thanks to a penalty in the second minute. New England would get en equalizer on a point blank shot from Team Bunbury in the 41st minute to tie the score heading into half time. Outside of that opening few minutes, this really was the Revs' game. They had around 60% of the possession and were heavily outshooting Orlando. ALthough Orlando City began to threaten a lot more as the clock ticked towards the end.  They found themselves a 92nd minute would have been winner during a mad scramble with the final shot by Kevin Molino. The ball appeared to have been struck by Molino's hand before he booted it home, but referee Baldomero Toledo missed it.

In a situation reminiscent of the finish to the Atletico Madrid-Barcelona match during the week, New England had one last chance at a point with a free kick on a borderline hand ball at the edge of the penalty area. After the free kick was originally signalled, the Revs argued, at length, for a PK. After Toledo consulted with his assistant, they eventually got it. The Citrus Bowl crowd were unhappy, but it was the right call, if it indeed was a handball. The ball in looked to hit the very top of the shoulder of the Orlando defender. Lee Nguyen fired home the spot kick and the Revs escaped Orlando with a share of the points in controversial fashion. Orlando players and coaches continued the argument as the teams left the pitch, but the game was over and their words were empty.

This match was yet another incident of atrocious MLS officiating. One bad call making up for another, and thus levelling the result, is no excuse for the officials. Two blatant bad calls could have greatly changed the outcome of the match. And these calls aren't misinterpretations of the rules or even cases of judgement that can be argued one way or the other. These are flat out refereeing screw ups that need to be corrected if the league wants to continue to grow its reputation. New England and Orlando may have ended up with their deserved result, but it certainly came under dubious circumstances.

FC Dallas 2-1 Sporting Kansas City
These two clubs might be the best the Western Conference has to offer this year, and, despite, the weather, they put on a pretty good display. The first goal came for Sporting Kansas City on a Benny Feilhaber corner in the 22nd minute. Somehow, and I stress the somehow part, the ball bounced through the six yard box without hitting anyone until it fount the open head of Lawrence Olum for an easy, easy goal. Michael Barrios provided the equalizer 13 minute later. Dallas was attacking with pace down the middle and the right flank. Barrios received the key pass and drilled a shot through Tim Melia and into the net. A fairly even game proceeded to go down until the 68th minute when Dallas took the lead. Mauro Rosales buried the winner on a wonderful free kick that gave Melia zero chance to make a save. SKC had their chances late in the match, but nothing was fortunate enough to go in and Dallas marked themselves as the early favorite to take the top spot in the West again.

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