Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Toronto FC Wonders about Officiating after String of Game-Changing Calls

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Toronto FC Wonders about Officiating after String of Game-Changing Calls

Article excerpt

Toronto FC wonders about officiating

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TORONTO - Four games into Toronto FC's season and much of the talk has been on MLS officiating.

A David Villa handball that went unseen led to a New York City FC goal in a 2-2 tie. A foul on defender Justin Morrow went unpunished on the lone Sporting Kansas City goal in a 1-0 loss. And Toronto had to play 77 minutes down a man on the weekend after a controversial second yellow card sent midfielder Benoit Cheyrou to the dressing room during a 1-0 loss to the Colorado Rapids.

"Look the last thing I want to make it out to seem is that we're feeling sorry for ourselves, because that's not the case at all," Toronto captain Michael Bradley said after practice Tuesday.

"I prefer to just make it a general statement. Which for me is that through four or five weeks of the season there's just been too many games where at the end the referee has played way too big a part in deciding the outcome. That for me is the most disappointing and frustrating part -- as a player but also as a fan.

"When you sit down and watch other games from around the league, for me there's just been a few too many instances like that. Look, I have total understanding for this idea that the league felt the need to crack down on certain types of plays and certain tackles. But I do think in the process the bar has gone a little bit too far.

"Ultimately for any of us, you just want to feel like you step on the field and you get what you deserve -- whether it's three points, one point, zero points, that your performance is what dictates the result and how you walk off the field."

Toronto coach Greg Vanney was stone-faced after the Colorado loss left his team at 1-2-1.

"Another match impacted by refereeing," he said by way of opening his post-match news conference.

"I feel like every game we're having the same discussion," he added.

Three days later, the blood had returned to Vanney's face although his opinion hadn't changed.

He charitably called it "the hiccups of the early season" as referees and players struggle to adjust to new expectations of on-field conduct.

Through the first five weeks of the season, there have been 16 reds over 42 games. …

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