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Red Bulls head coach Juan Carlos Osorio had his issues with Saturday night's match vs. Houston, and his issues with referee Baldomero Toledo, but none of those issues had to do with race and whether Toledo and other MLS referees are targeting Hispanic players.
Contrary to this report from the New York Post soccer blog, which stated that Osorio accused MLS referees of being racially biased, Osorio never made a comment relating to referees and their perceived mistreatment of Hispanic players.
What Osorio did do was make a comment about all four of the Red Bulls players receiving red cards this year being Hispanic, but he did so in acknowledgment of a trend he wasn't necessarily happy with. Jorge Rojas, who drew a red card for an arm to the face of Brian Mullan, fell into the stereotype of the hot-tempered Hispanic player, something Osorio wasn't happy about.
"Right, I know, all Hispanic players, eh," Osorio said when asked about his team's four red cards this season. "Today I told my team what I thought coming into this game and unfortunately we were too quick to react a couple of times."
Osorio believed that Rojas allowed himself to get caught up in the Dynamo's physical game, then pointed out Seth Stammler's own reaction to a rough challenge as evidence that being upset with the Dynamo's play wasn't something limited to Hispanic players.
"To be fair to everybody, I don't know if you guys saw what happened just prior to their goal. There's an incident, there's a bad tackle to Seth (Stammler), and Seth is not Hispanic, and he reacted, and that's all my comments. I'm not going to say anything else."
The incident in question with Stammler occurred in the second half when Stuart Holden came in hard with a studs-up challenge that Stammler had to jump to avoid. Stammler responded by grabbing Holden's jersey as the players ran up field. Holden's challenge was one of a handful of harsh challenges throughout the night, including the first-half tackle that led to Carlos Johnson suffering a broken left foot, a tackle that failed to draw a card from Toledo.
Holden's challenges, along with the Dynamo's overall physical approach to the match (Houston out-fouled the Red Bulls 17-8) didn't surprise Osorio, but the Red Bulls coach did sound disappointed with Toledo's failure to issue any yellow cards to Houston for its physical play (aside from one to forward Ade Akinbiyi)_.
"All I can say is I saw it coming," Osorio said. "Not the red card, but something, and not necessarily with Jorge, but it's just the nature of the game when you play against Houston."
So why the confusion in Osorio's statement? His "all Hispanic players" comment was clearly misunderstood by some, especially since Osorio was trying hard not to be critical of the referee. The comment was also misunderstood even though Osorios follow-up comment about Seth Stammler's reaction to a Stuart Holden tackle provided some context.
Osorio accusing MLS refs of being racist against Hispanics because of Rojas' red card wouldn't exactly make sense consider A) Baldomero Toledo is Hispanic and B) Hispanic referees have issued three of the four red cards the Red Bulls have received this year.