So we all can question the officials once again, should Yordany been sent off for his studs up tackle on Cahill? Were any of the three PK’s called actually a real PK? How in the world did the official call 46 combined fouls and yet have no control over the match. Each of those are valid points of discussion, but for me the impact of the ref is as much if not more than any of those, responsible for the subs that Jason Kreis made, which impacted the match both in positive and negative ways.
RSL may have been lucky that Yordany Alvarez was still on the pitch in the 61st minute of play, given the hard tackle that earned him an early yellow card (and some think was deserving of more). He had been playing well since that early yellow, but given the nature of the match and the official, bringing in Khari Stephenson for Yordany instead of for Ned Grabavoy, who didn’t have his finest match, or Sebastian Velasquez both of whom play a position more normal for Khari seems to be at least if not completely motivated by how the match was being called. It may have been wise as 3 more yellow cards where given out in the 15 minutes after the sub was made.
The second sub of the night was a straight swap of Luis Gil coming in for Sebastian Velasquez, this one I doubt had anything to do with the officiating but was more about fresh legs in what was a 2-1 match. Still I wonder if again given the rough match that Ned Grabavoy was having, that if we hadn’t had to pull Yordany if perhaps Ned would have been the choice to take out here, but with Ned’s defensive abilities I can understand this move more than any other.
The final sub was another that really seemed motivated by both a desire to get more offense on the pitch but also seems to clearly have been impacted by wanting to avoid Lovel Palmer a yellow card. Lovel was on yellow card caution and had he picked up a yellow in this match he would have been suspended for the August 3rd match against Colorado (both Tony Beltran and Chris Wingert will be suspended for that match). This move allowed RSL to go with a 3 man back line, but had that yellow card situation not been present, one would have thought a better move may have been to take out Aaron Maund instead of Palmer. As Palmer left and Joao Plata came on, the pace and intensity of the match changed in RSL’s favor.
Three minutes after Plata entered the match, RSL evened the score at 2-2, and then two minutes later RSL took the lead 3-2 and the momentum was clearly in RSL’s favor and with less than 10 minutes left in the match all that was left was to hold on. Here is where the sub choices make a huge impact, all match Lovel Palmer had dealt with Fabian Espindola with relative calmness and ease, but 7 minutes after RSL took the lead Fabi baited Aaron Maund into some contact on the edge of the area, enough that when combined with some familiar play acting by Fabi got the official to make the PK call. A converted PK did more than just even the score of the match, it took the momentum back from RSL and gave the Red Bulls life.
So beyond just the PK calls, think about the fact that the ref called 46 fouls in this match, that is 18.5 over his career average, then add in that 7 yellow cards is more than double his career average and now wonder if after a week of PRO meetings and their manager of training being at this match that if perhaps the impact of the officiating goes far beyond a couple of controversial calls.
In the end bad marking on the first goal, where it looks like Nat Borchers was assigned to Cahill and simply lost him, and then no pressure on the ball at the end of the match as our guys give way too much room to Barklage to make that cross and Ned was caught on the wrong side of Dax. Clearly the changes on the backline caused some mistakes but both the PK and the final goal were a direct result of us losing possession in the midfield, first by Plata which ends in the PK call, and then by a clearly gassed Saborio which gave the ball up that eventually found the head of McCarty. Mistakes in the final minutes of matches have been killing us, gotta keep fighting either to protect the lead or at least to hold on to the draw.
Still a lot of RSL fans, including myself wonder how much momentum changed with that 3rd PK call, perhaps Aaron Maund should have just knocked him on his ass outside of the area? One can wonder what might have been, what if Nick, Kyle and Tony weren’t away with the USMNT? What if Chris Schuler, Kwame Watson-Siriboe, and Carlos Salcedo weren’t out injured, what if we had a different official, all valid questions but in the end, a good effort that simply wasn’t good enough.
That’s How I See It