clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Let's Talk About Tim Weyland and the MLS Referees

This post is for both those who think Tim Weyland is a disgrace and those who think I'm being unnecessarily harsh on him. (Yes, both of you.)

(Oh, sorry. I do actually respect all opinions here and want to hear from you if this is you. If we can engage in impassioned debate coming from all sides, we eventually arrive at common middle ground. And that's a good thing.)

Some things that have come out since the game, and some things to think about:

  • There is a long history and apparent bad blood between Sigi and Tim Weyland. Should MLS take this into account when assigning referees? Will Weyland ever referee another game in Seattle? If so, will he be able to keep from reacting emotionally? If not, will he make it off the pitch alive?
  • MLS hands out red cards in approximately 15% of games. We have used up our quota for the first 2/3 of the season with only a quarter of the season gone.

    Also, MLS hands out nearly double the percentage of reds per game played as the EPL. Kasey Keller said post-game that in England, reds were given out for truly dangerous play and never for "ticky-tacky fouls." He's obviously disgusted. I watch a lot of European football, and I'm amazed by it too.

    Are we really twice as dangerous? Yes, we have been in the past, but I'm not seeing it as much this year. And yet the number of reds is increasing rather than decreasing. And do US Soccer's refereeing reviews make the situation better or worse? Is there a point where they should stop saying, "Hand out more cards" (which is what most of their reviews say) and instead say, "We now have a good balance between safety and flow of the game"?

  • Tim Weyland handled the Galaxy-Chivas game in exactly the same way as our game yesterday. Three reds, nine yellows. John Carver, formerly of TFC, was recently fined for calling Weyland "a disgrace." So no, it's not just us.
  • James Riley was stupid to allow himself to be goaded into responding. (I still love him.) No arguments from me, and probably not from anyone. But Berhalter has admitted to holding onto the ball to intentionally slow down play -- definitely a foul, and probably a card -- and he faced no punishment whatsoever. Quote:

    “He wanted to take it quickly, I picked it up and was trying to delay the kick"

  • Also, Sigi was quoted as saying one of our players heard the fourth official calling for a card for Berhalter -- something Weyland chose not to act on.

  • I was sitting right behind Jhon Kennedy Hurtado when he was desperately trying to get back on the field after being injured. At the time it felt bizarre -- as if the officials were intentionally ignoring him in one of those "It's my ex. Don't make eye contact" kind of ways. At the time I wrote it off, but now it seems like a smaller part of something bigger. Or am I just being paranoid?

    When I was a Galaxy fan, I always laughed at talk of an institutional pro-Galaxy bias. I'm not laughing now.

  • I wrote this as a comment in a previous post, then realized it sums up my feelings on Weyland -- and on good referees vs. bad referees -- pretty well.

    Later, it was as if Weyland decided to punish the team for the negative energy coming at him from the crowd. (Or maybe it’s because of bad blood with Sigi, as others are reporting. That could be it, too.)

    The best referees interact with the players in a way that reassures them that a valid attempt has been made to reach the right decision, even when it goes against them. Based on this criteria, Weyland has to be the worst. How often do you see a referee whose method of operation is to intentionally ignore players except to hand out cards?

    We see plenty of other referees who are able to stick to their guns and keep the game moving while still acknowledging that players might disagree with the occasional call. The best referees can calm down situations with a brief smile, give players a quick nod as if they’re listening, follow up with an “I’m sorry, this is what we saw and the call stands.” The situation doesn’t escalate, the players walk away satisfied if not happy, and there is actually less delay to the game. (How much time did we lose to the brawl?)

    Weyland does none of that stuff — he just hands out cards for dissent, which encourages rather than discourages the game to spiral out of control, because in the heat of the moment it feels -- and frequently is -- unfair.

  • So what do you think about the referees in general, and about Weyland in particular?

    Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for the Sounder At Heart Weekly Roundup newsletter!

    A twice weekly roundup of Seattle Sounders and OL Reign news from Sounder at Heart