Celebration Overshadowed by Replacement Refs

Controversial Penalty spoils Festivities at Red Bull Arena
by Daniel Feuerstein   |   Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Branded Bulls – column on Red Bull NY (RBNY – NYRB) & the New Jersey area soccer scene.

There was a different feeling coming over to Red Bull Arena. It was a feeling of partial relief as those in the crowd remembered the end of the 2013 regular season when Red Bull New York won the MLS Supporters’ Shield.

As the video boards hanging from the roof top on both ends showed the highlights of last season and that shield -linching game against the Chicago Fire at the end, fans roared and cheered. It was fantastic to see.

Then a big moment came when the Supporters’ Shield banner was unfurled above the South Ward showing the Arena what was earned and behind it was an actual picture of the shield that will be seen by all members of the south ward.

Just as we have seen great tifos in Portland and Seattle by those respected supporters groups get unveiled in their respected stadiums, this big one came from behind the goal in the South Ward as it was a life sized picture of RBNY manager Mike Petke holding up the Supporters’ Shield.

But sadly the only important moment everyone is looking at is the controversial penalty being awarded to the Colorado Rapids, as Marvin Chavez looked like he was fouled in the Red Bulls area wasn’t. Because how does a forward who is backing into the area and somehow doesn’t get shoved down from behind fall like a ton of bricks.

Jamison Olave has every right to stand his ground in the area and play the ball at the same time to make some form of physical contact, but not enough to throw down his marker to actually get called for a penalty in the area. Both of Olave’s arms were up and in a non-threatening position.

All Marvin Chavez did was jog backwards and bumped into the rock of a chest in Olave and fell down like he was shot. Alan Kelly who is a replacement referee fell for it hook, line and sinker to give a cheap call and a free shot for the Rapids to get an equalizer.

So this is the second week of MLS and their PRO referee department using referee’s that are not officiating games week in and week out in Major League Soccer. The referee from this game works for PRO as a trainer when he is not pretending to be a referee.

The Red Bulls are not going to use the replacement ref as an excuse on why they dropped 2 points, but to be honest the league needs to fix this situation and quick. Because if another match gets decided by a replacement ref, it could be towards one side not getting all 3 points or a go-ahead goal that was wiped out and possibly not getting those extra 2.

It’s an important topic, yes, but it’s starting to overshadow bigger celebrations – like the Red Bulls unveiling their Supporters Shield’ banner.

NEXT UP: March 23 - Red Bull New York vs. Chicago Fire, Toyota Park, Bridgeview, Ill. 3 p.m. EST, MLS Live, MSG Network.


Ramapo College
Club Domestic:
Red Bull NY
Club Foreign:
PSG, ManU, Maccabbi Haifa
Original New York Cosmos fan, reborn soccer fan since 1994 USA World Cup. Feuerstein’s Fire podcast host. Covers NY Red Bulls for SN, and promotes all levels of American soccer from both sides of issues.