RSL 0-1 Houston: Fine Pat Onstad

To the Powers that Be:

Fine that cheating geezer, Pat Onstad.  Do it for the integrity of the game and for the dignity of regional theater – and introduce your referees to those giant digital video boards most stadiums seem to have these days before they find themselves both embarrassed and obsolete.

What had been a half-decent contest between quality (Houston Dynamo) and pride (Real Salt Lake) unraveled during the second half into a cynical sham.  First came the decision to eject Eddie Robinson: hopefully, referee Tim Weyland knew beyond doubting that Robinson ran across Kyle Beckerman’s trailing leg, because absent perfect knowledge, a red card to Robinson shouldn’t happen.  On the other hand, Robinson might have thought he could get away with it given Weyland’s indulgence of a series of early, rough challenges from Craig Waibel and a string of cynical fouls by Ryan Cochrane that also went unpunished.  Maybe Robinson ran off the field as a scapegoat for Houston.

It’s a little bizarre to be writing this because one talking point that occurred to me as I watched last night amounted to dubbing Houston’s backline one of the best  in Major League Soccer (MLS).  There’s no question in my mind it’s effective, but every time I see them, I’m struck by the low-blow thuggishness with which Cochrane and Robinson, in particular, play the game.  This doesn’t quite reach the realm of, “kids, don’t try this at home,” but it’s hardly something to be encouraged either for reasons of player development or sportsmanship. Continue reading

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