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Friday Kickaround

*Georgia native Jack McInerney scored twice for the second straight match as the USA defeated Canada, 4-2, to qualify for the Under-17 World Cup for the 13th consecutive time. Only the USA has participated in every U-17 finals since its inception in 1985. Silver Spring's Joseph Gyau entered in the 84th minute and scored in the 85th.

*Crystal Palace Baltimore opens its USL2 slate tonight at UMBC Stadium in Catonsville against Bermuda. Tomorrow night, Real Maryland hosts the Hogges in Rockville.

*Americans abroad:
F Marcus Tracy 81 minutes in Aalborg's 3-1 loss at Esbjerg
F Charlie Davies 90 in Hammarby's 1-0 loss to Goteborg
D Michael Parkhurst 90 in Nordsjaelland's 2-1 loss to Brondby
D Michael Orozco and San Luis vs. Necaxa

*Fun fact: Jimmy Conrad bobbleheads were given away at last night's Kansas City-New York match. One was placed aboard the B2 bomber that flew over CommunityAmerica Ballpark in the pregame ceremony.

*What's up with Red Bulls right backs and red cards? On April 11, Carlos Johnson was sent off at Houston. Last weekend, rookie Jeremy Hall was ejected against RSL. Last night Johnson saw red in the second minute of a 1-0 loss at now-first-place Kansas City -- the fastest dismissal in league history. He'll miss Sunday's match against D.C. United at Giants Stadium. Penalty kick, no doubt, but did Johnson deserve to be sent off? You decide:

By Steve Goff  |  April 24, 2009; 9:16 AM ET
Categories:  MLS , U.S. men's national team , USL  
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Next: A Few Minutes With Tom Soehn


Really not much question about the send off. His foul denied an obvious goal-scoring opportunity, so there was really not a choice for the referee.

NY was helped by the small field I think. Being down to 10 on a pitch that small isn't the disadvantage that it is on a big field like LA's for example. Not the greatest game though for sure.

Posted by: fedssocr | April 24, 2009 9:23 AM | Report abuse

To be contrarian:

Is it the officials yanking the reds or yellows too early in some games, or the lack of cards at other points in the game that lead to ugly-foul filled contests, or that players in the league are just making terrible decisions at certain points and making it easy for an official to hand out cards?

LA Galaxy vs Chivas - all the officials fault.

Some other games - I dunno - I'm going to go with questionable decisions by players.

Posted by: VirginiaBlueBlood | April 24, 2009 9:31 AM | Report abuse

Having KC and NYRB on ESPN2 was a poor option for "sexy soccer" to the national viewing audience to begin with but that dismissal absolutely killed any chance of that being an entertaining game. I thought that the foul earned Johnson a yellow card and a PK to be sure. One of the most boring games I've ever fast forwarded through in my life.

Posted by: nytshade71 | April 24, 2009 9:32 AM | Report abuse

The early send-off was harsh and killed the game. It's not the ref's fault that KC's offense was inept or that NY chose to play defense while down a man, but the game lived up to the early joke / stereotype of a team defending an early "insurmountable 1-0 lead". The game picked up towards the end when NY finally came out of it's shell to try to get a tie but, in the meantime, everyone had probably switched to another channel or turned off the TV.

Posted by: Joel_M_Lane | April 24, 2009 9:40 AM | Report abuse

NY's defense was well-organized and might be hard for DC to break down on Sunday at the Meadowlands.

Posted by: Joel_M_Lane | April 24, 2009 9:42 AM | Report abuse

What's the sound of 10,000 people picking their noses?
KC's support last night... gawd awful....

Posted by: bonghits4gomez | April 24, 2009 9:47 AM | Report abuse


It goes both ways. In some games, things are calm, the ref gives a card that was harsh, and the aggrieved team takes out the anger that caused on their opponent. The match devolves into a scrap. At the other end of the spectrum, you can see two teams that clearly dislike each other, the ref pulls the first card at the right moment, and the teams chill out and focus on actually playing.

Like you said, Weyland turned LA-Chivas into a farce. However, if he had just let everything go, I suspect you would have seen players in danger of serious injuries. Not only do the teams go after each other every time, but both squads are full of players bordering from hard-but-fair to thugs, as well as players that run their mouths or let their emotions get the best of them. I thought it was funny that Berhalter, one of the cooler heads on either team, got one of the red cards.

There are also poor decisions by players that cause plenty of bookings. Since we're talking about NY right backs, 2 of the 3 red cards they've earned came from what I viewed as poor decisions or poor play. Hall's tackle was just a piece of misjudging distance and the speed of the other player, while Johnson's last night was due to his decision to play backwards combined with a touch that would be pathetic for any pick up game out on the Mall. Johnson's other red card came from getting caught up in the moment against Houston; by the half hour mark, it was clear that he was too wound up to stay on.


The letter of the law says he had to go. Without Johnson's kick to his ankle, Gomez is in alone right near the penalty spot. If that's not an obvious goal-scoring opportunity, then what is?

However, this was a little different than Berhalter's red for LA against Chivas. Eskandarian was past Berhalter, who had a moment to realize that a) he would not catch him, b) no one else was in position to catch him, and c) the best chance for the 0-0 score to be preserved was grabbing Eskandarian. Johnson, meanwhile, was lunging to make a legitimate tackle on the ball, but was beaten to it by Gomez. Never mind that it was Johnson's unforgivably oafish touch that put him in trouble in the first place; he was not making a calculated attempt to stop a goal via a foul. The reason I make this distinction is that refs (not just in MLS) will sometimes see a PK and yellow card as punishment enough, since the foul was not intentional. I'm not saying it's right, just saying that, if you watch enough soccer, you will see a similar situation not end with a red card in the near future.

Posted by: Chest_Rockwell | April 24, 2009 9:52 AM | Report abuse

everyone HAS to watch McInerney's second goal in the 30th minute. A 30 yard cracker, simply unbelievable. He is PURE CLASS. I hope he blossoms to what the MNT has always needed.

You can see it here:

Posted by: adamsunited | April 24, 2009 9:55 AM | Report abuse

One thing for certain . . . I've seen better defending in a JV high school match.

At first glance, I thought the Red Bull player was a striker trying to settle the ball . .

Posted by: delantero | April 24, 2009 10:06 AM | Report abuse

Georgia native Jack McInerney . . aka Ronaldo in the Champions League . . great goal from distance . .

Posted by: delantero | April 24, 2009 10:10 AM | Report abuse

BH4Gomez: That was a *sold out* crowd in KC last night. You couldn't hear or see the fans in the clip above?
The game may have sucked but the Wiz's support shouldn't be catching any flack for that.

Posted by: DadRyan | April 24, 2009 10:14 AM | Report abuse

The red card was NOT the right decision. Carlos Johnson was not the last defender, either Pacheco or Rojas was closer to goal than Johnson when the foul was committed. So it didn't quite meet the 4 elements which are supposed to be present for a player to be sent off.

The Four D's

Distance to goal.
Distance from the ball (for the attacking player when he was fouled).
Direction of the attacker (was he bearing down on goal).
Number of Defenders (would other defenders have been able to intervene).

The other Red Bulls defender was probably not at the right angle to block a shot from Herc Gomez but he was closer to goal than either Gomez or Johnson. So there's still some subjective interpretation required by the ref. But most refs seem to use the "last defender" standard and don't toss the player unless he fouled while he was the last defender (excluding the goalie) and the other "4 D's" were met.

Posted by: Joel_M_Lane | April 24, 2009 10:32 AM | Report abuse

Re: NY was helped by the small field I think. Being down to 10 on a pitch that small isn't the disadvantage that it is on a big field like LA's for example. Not the greatest game though for sure.

Posted by: fedssocr

Umm... the field in LA is one of the smallest in the league. Hella narrow.

Posted by: alecw81 | April 24, 2009 10:32 AM | Report abuse


Good points.


Posted by: VirginiaBlueBlood | April 24, 2009 10:44 AM | Report abuse

Terrible red card. Johnson was not only not the last man, but he was going after a loose ball due to his own bad touch. The striker never had posession of the ball there for never had a clear goal scorring chance. bad, bad, bad call.

Posted by: jjfooty | April 24, 2009 10:45 AM | Report abuse

Doesn't look like LA's field at HDC is small . . The sizes of all MLS pitches is here . . .

Posted by: delantero | April 24, 2009 11:15 AM | Report abuse


sold out or not...

their support was awful. except for the guy with the trumpet.. :eyes roll:

the clip hardly gives an accurate glimpse of the game I watched last night.

wednesday, United had reported numbers of 5000 (a lie) in a 50,000 seat stadium.. and we sounded like a bunch of bloated banshees for United... the KC game sucked because their support sucked... it's all intergal to the game as a whole.

Posted by: bonghits4gomez | April 24, 2009 11:27 AM | Report abuse

Oh no! KC didn't toot horns or bang drums! Oh no! They only sold out every seat!

Posted by: Reignking | April 24, 2009 11:36 AM | Report abuse

poor red card, worse game. i spent most of the game watching "soccer cam" on goltv, which is a prime indicator of match suckiness. (btw, why do they do that crazy coloring on "soccer cam"? it makes the host look like a rotting zombie or something...)

Posted by: dfunkt | April 24, 2009 11:37 AM | Report abuse


I think all four Ds are indeed met. The first three are, at least in my mind, about as close to indisputable as can be:

Distance to goal: I'd say about 15 yards, and within a yard of dead center.
Distance from the ball: Within a yard.
Direction of the attacker: Bearing down on goal in a virtually ideal scoring position.

The fourth one, while not as etched in stone as the others, still seems like an easy call to me:

Number of defenders: I've paused the video at the moment Johnson is making contact with Gomez, and Pacheco is about half a step closer to the endline but is at least 7 yards away from the ball, and probably more. He is very close to being in a straight line from where the restraining arc meets the 18.

Unless Gomez, for reasons I can't begin to fathom, was going to stop the ball and wait for support, there's no way Pacheco gets anywhere near blocking the shot or impeding Gomez in any way. He would have to, from a near-standstill, launch himself like a long-jumper into the play. This is unlikely. It looks like Gomez is planning on one short touch (to evade Johnson's lunge) before a shot, so I can't see any way to think of Pacheco as being between Gomez and goal. He's far enough away that he might as well be standing next to the corner flag. Barring some monumental stupidity from Gomez, the only defender that had any hope of intervening was Johnson, and he did by fouling.

Posted by: Chest_Rockwell | April 24, 2009 11:39 AM | Report abuse


shut up!

i'm not talking about banging or tooting. when peeps are falling asleep on the sideline of any game... the other 9,999 can't be far behind. gawd awful..

Posted by: bonghits4gomez | April 24, 2009 11:43 AM | Report abuse

The KC-NY game sucked because the play on the field was awful. At first I was a little po'd at Harkes' commentary because every-other minute he was using the words horrible or awful to describe decisions on the field. But, after a while, it was clear he was right.

DC's supporters are great; but stop mocking the folks who pay to show up at other stadiums as if they care less about the game than you do. Some areas of the country just aren't very well schooled in Yelling for 90 minutes. But, ultimately, if there was a better product on the field to cheer for, the fans wouldn't be so damn bored.

Posted by: hacksaw | April 24, 2009 11:45 AM | Report abuse

Oh, and on the crowd in KC: Their fans are, in most parts of Community-America Ballpark, extremely far from the field. There was a shot of someone taking a throw-in about midway between the endline and midfield that showed the fans sitting behind home plate. They might as well have been watching from the next town over. Remember that the pitcher's mound was near the one sideline, and that's a good distance from home plate, which in turn is a good distance from the backstop. Sitting there, or in the first base line seats, probably leaves you about as far from the action as a food stand on the RFK concourse.

Give their fans a break; 10K on a Thursday is very good for KC. Dallas would take that for a Saturday night with perfect weather.

Posted by: Chest_Rockwell | April 24, 2009 11:46 AM | Report abuse

I find it very hard to make the comparison between 5,000 people in-person and 10,000 people on TV. What would the 5,000 people have sounded like on TV with the same microphone placement? What did the 10,000 sound like in-person? I don't know. But that's just me, I like to compare my apples to other apples.

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | April 24, 2009 11:48 AM | Report abuse

G-D Awful!!!

look at all of you making excuses for an awful team, with awful support and an awful stadium..

Posted by: bonghits4gomez | April 24, 2009 11:51 AM | Report abuse

seriously, that's awful!

Posted by: bonghits4gomez | April 24, 2009 11:53 AM | Report abuse

Yet, they have a stadium under construction; just like DC does... oops....

Not making excuses; just a little sick of the self-righteous attitude of some folks.

Posted by: hacksaw | April 24, 2009 11:54 AM | Report abuse

"There was a shot of someone taking a throw-in about midway between the endline and midfield that showed the fans sitting behind home plate"

I saw that, too -- I can't imagine that being enjoyable -- especially with other people standing on the sideline, surely in your way.

I watched the entire game, because I was at a bar (no sound); it was boring. At least I saw some life out of Mbuta and Kandji.

Posted by: Reignking | April 24, 2009 11:55 AM | Report abuse

Props to KC fans for selling out their stadium for a Thursday night game.

Many other teams will "soccer-specific" stadia cannot yet do the same (Denver, Dallas, Salt Lake, Chicago, Columbus...).

I realize it only takes a little more than 10k to fill it, but some other teams can't even reach 10k for a Thursday night game.

Posted by: CDRHoek | April 24, 2009 11:57 AM | Report abuse

The ESPN games would be a LOT more fun to watch without John Harkes. Assuming (and this is the only logical explanation) he has a large bet with a friend that he can actually outb*tch Wynalda - dude, you won. Stop it. Take a ritalin or something.

Posted by: Godfather_of_Goals | April 24, 2009 12:00 PM | Report abuse

I've watched the play that led to the PK several times now, and I can't believe that some of you actually think that wasn't worthy of a red card. The only player in front of Gomez was the RedBulls keeper'. End of story. Also, the ripping of the Wizards fans is uncalled for. They were fine. My problem is with Onalfo. You're up a man and a goal for 87 minutes and you play like that? THAT was what was awful.

Posted by: SonicDeathMonkey | April 24, 2009 12:00 PM | Report abuse

look at all of you making excuses for an awful team, with awful support and an awful stadium..

Posted by: bonghits4gomez

Go back to your bong. There was nothing wrong with the crowd support last night.

Chest and others supporting the red card,

I think the red card was justified but it was open to interpretation by the ref. The "number of defenders" element required in determining whether a foul denied an obvious goal scoring opportunity is open to some interpretation and judgment.

The material I have from my most recent ref recert class says only "the location and numbers of defenders" is one of the circumstances which should be considered in deciding whether to send a player off. I think Kennedy should have used his judgment to award the PK but let the player stay on.

Posted by: Joel_M_Lane | April 24, 2009 12:15 PM | Report abuse

The only way not to see that as a red card foul is if you believe it was not an intentional foul. If you think he was trying to clear the ball and didn't realize Gomez was going to beat him to it, you have an argument. Otherwise, he's outta there.

Posted by: fischy | April 24, 2009 12:43 PM | Report abuse

The only way not to see that as a red card foul is if you believe it was not an intentional foul. If you think he was trying to clear the ball and didn't realize Gomez was going to beat him to it, you have an argument. Otherwise, he's outta there.

Posted by: fischy

That's my argument -- but I haven't seen any other angles other than the one from the sideline / center of field.

Posted by: Reignking | April 24, 2009 1:45 PM | Report abuse

Intent is a separate criteria and doesn't actually factor into the DOGSO criteria. Intent is a separate aggravating factor that can make any sanction by the ref more serious. But a DOGSO red card does not seem to require intent (it could be earned for an unintentional trip or push).

Posted by: Joel_M_Lane | April 24, 2009 2:20 PM | Report abuse

yellow card

still would have turned out the same.

1-0 kc.

Posted by: castroviejo | April 24, 2009 2:26 PM | Report abuse

Those dimensions are from 2006, delantero. I think it was the middle of the 2007 season when the Gals made the dimensions smaller. They paid a fine to the league and that was that. Chivas USA who? I've wondered about teams that play home matches in different venues and the dimensions of their fields. Do they have to maintain the primary field's dimensions?

Posted by: sitruc | April 24, 2009 6:14 PM | Report abuse

uhmmm thanks for sticking up for me sticking up for KC fans guys...;-) I went out and rode my bike around all day in the beautiful weather.
We all know DC has great support, but riding your own jock all the time is Gawd Awfully Corny.
Vamos United!!!

Posted by: DadRyan | April 24, 2009 6:18 PM | Report abuse

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