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MLS suspends three; league acknowledges officiating error

Photo by Gary A. Vasquez/USA TODAY Sports

Officiating has, once again, been a hot topic in MLS circles this week, and the league has taken action against a trio of players while admitting to a series of mistakes over the weekend.

The MLS Disciplinary Committee announced on Thursday that LA Galaxy defender Jeff Larentowicz, Orlando City midfielder Antonio Nocerino and Houston Dynamo defender David Horst have each earned one-game suspensions for incidents over the weekend. All three will serve their one-match bans over the weekend.

When assessing the incidents surrounding the Galaxy in particular, MLS VP of Competition, Jeff Agoos said that the league acknowledges that there were two missed calls in the Galaxy’s 2-2 draw with the Red Bulls. According to Agoos, the Red Bulls deserved two separate penalty kicks that were not given by referee Hilario Grajeda. Following the second of the two, Red Bulls head coach Jesse Marsch was ejected.

In addition, a Larentowicz tackle was not properly punished after Damien Perinelle was forced off with what has since been identified as a meniscus injury that will keep him out for four-to-six weeks.

“We reviewed the New York-LA game and concluded that there had been two missed penalty kick calls late in the game,” Agoos said. “In addition, the Disciplinary Committee also determined that the foul by Jeff Larentowicz merited a one-game suspension.”

Agoos went on to say that “video review would have allowed for the review of these non-calls,” as the league continues to push towards being one of the first in the world to move towards adding the technology.

Nocerino’s suspension stems from an incident that saw the Italian midfielder kick the ball at Clint Dempsey, while Horst will serve a one-game ban for a foul on Patrice Bernier.

What do you think of the latest MLS DisCo news? Did the league get it right by admitting the error?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. Unpopular opinion: neither of those “missed” PK calls were PKs. The first one vs. Muyl was a 50/50 ball, and Muyl started his kick after Rowe started his dive. If you watch Rowe during the play, he had his eye on the ball the whole way, and ended up getting himself between the player and the ball, which was perfectly legal right up until the point of contact. Once the contact happened, the fact that it was a 50/50 ball means that there’s an equally valid argument that Muyl fouled Rowe by kicking through him. I’m not going to support that argument, but it has essentially as much merit as Rowe fouling Muyl. But, and here’s the key, if the ref called the penalty, he would have decided the outcome of the game based on an iffy call at best that could be argued both ways, and could have had a drastically different outcome had either player made a motion or decision less than half a second earlier or later than they did. As a soccer fan, I prefer the more hands-off approach in this instance, because the ref chose not to take the outcome into his own hands based on something that was a half second away from either Rowe saving it or Myule coming away with possession.

    As for the other non-call the argument is short: Veron was very clearly offside. Unless there was a scuffle or anything after play was stopped, what happened after he was off doesn’t really matter. (On a related side note: even if he wasn’t off, Veron ditched the ball to draw the PK, which I know is still a PK, but I’ve never liked watching attackers do that, even on my own team, it just cheapens the goal for me).

    Now, none of this is to defend the ref himself or the PRO, because he had a very poor game and the PRO needs a lot of work to say the least, but those are just my two cents on those calls, which I thought I’d throw in because it’s a different way of looking at things than all the loud, angry Internet commenters.

    • I’m not a fan of the Galaxy and I thought both calls were correct. Veron looked to go down without any contact whatsoever.

  2. Thanks for nothing, MLS. How about hiring competent referees in the first place? Or ensuring that incompetence results in some consequences for the referee? RBNY are out two points and a defender for a month and LA only loses a hacker for one game.

  3. I’d like to see a challenge system being set up for certain issues. However, non-calls is not one of
    them. If that were the case, every time a forward took a dive in the penalty area, the coach could challenge the non- call. I would rather see challenges for PK calls, Red Cards, and Yellow Cards where that yellow combined with one from a previous match, would cause the identified player to miss the next match. There will always be times when the officials are not in a position to see an offense being committed. However, what bothers me is when the referee calls something that didn’t happen. I guess I just don’t like to see an innocent person being prosecuted. Over the course of
    a season, non-calls will typically even themselves out. One other area I would like to see subject to Challenge is an offside call. Most of the time the officials get it right. However I have seen
    enough erroneous off-side calls, to where I hate to see a match decided on it. Also, in the last 2 minutes of regulation play, I would allow challenges for line calls, if the match was within a 1-goal
    differential. The rules for a Challenge would be essentially the same as for U. S. Football. You get 1 challenge, and if you succeed, you keep it. If you fail, you lose it & have to give up your 3rd substitution. If you have already used that 3rd substitution, he/she will have to come off the field. That way, the Challenge should be VERY serious in nature.

    • Non-calls are often the most game-changing errors referees make. Sometimes it is simply that the referee did not see the play as he moved to avoid a player or his attention was elsewhere on the field. Sure the assistant referees are supposed to help out, but they are too often reluctant to make the center referee look bad. If there is a non-call and it was determined that the call was right, but the attacker “took a dive” then card the diver, that would make coaches think twice about iffy challenges.

  4. I do turn the sound off when AL talks. It’s always sound without content.

    MLS loves LA. They’re only too happy to acknowledge the error–after the points are recorded.

  5. I agree about the Laurentowicz suspension. What a hack and career killer he is out there. Of course during the broadcast, Alexi “I ran two teams into the ground” Lalas, didn’t see anything wrong with the tackle. The man just likes to hear himself talk. I should have turned the sound down……I broke my own rule of not listening to the crap that comes out of his mouth.

    • Alexi Lalas, when he speaks, you just know he is wrong. When Alexi was at Rutgers, he won the Hermann award for college soccer, mostly by being the biggest goon out there. He was big, strong, clueless and aggressive to a fault. He is all still all those things, but perhaps not as strong now.

  6. That Nocerino “ball kick” was a B___ A$$ thing to do. Kicking the ball could have caused a concussion to Deuce. It’s petulant and childish and I’m glad the league did something about this behavior.

    • The two step.

      Are you calling someone childish from your computer ? while taking precautionary measures to encrypt the term “bitch ass” ?

  7. Are you kidding me!!! You put two guys out for the season and Laurentowicz only gets one game. That’s a joke. Disgrace. Agoos should be fired.

  8. Soccer seems like one of the easiest sports to integrate some kind of quick review. People complain about stopping the play, but they could at least start with revies of play stopping penalties. They could just have another referee (or centralized referee HQ type deal) that could be watching the replays and give a near instant decision. The play is already stopped in the bigger cases because of injury and checking out a player and getting them off the field, just have the additional off-field ref check out a replay and let the head ref know what the call should be.

    • Slippery slope my friend. Next thing you know we have 5 minutes of Bud Light commercials every 10 min.

      Look at what reviews have done to baseball. Is it really making the game better?

    • To the contrary, soccer is one of the hardest sports to implement video review. There are no natural stoppages in the event of a non-call, which is the situation for the two missed PK’s. Furthermore, the issuing of cautions and ejections is a discretionary matter.

      • Called goals, penalties, and straight reds should be reviewed during the natural stoppage. You don’t need to stop play to review a non-call. You review it as play continues and if an uncalled penalty or goal is warranted you award it at the next natural stoppage or when the team awarded the call obtains possession (like in hockey), whichever comes first after the decision.

  9. Good on Agoos for saying that the referee missed two penalty calls as well as the Larentowicz tackle on Perinelle. All 3 were terrible calls by the referee.

    • Good? That’s another crap sandwich for a team that does not benefit in the actual game for the lack of referees discretion. How does a player being suspended after the fact benefit NYRB?


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