Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Early trends

I'll be working on my Press-Enterprise column this morning, and right now I'm leaning towards writing on the early trends in MLS this season. I'll probably also write about the local teams as well since they've got trends of their own to discuss.

One of the two major early trends this season is the high number of red cards. Two weekends ago there were quite a few red cards handed out; Dema Kovalenko and Andy Iro were sent off on separate days at Home Depot Center alone. But last week, there were even more, seven in all including three during Saturday's Chivas-Galaxy game.

Here's a piece by Greg Lalas for SI.com on the trend.

Now, I know the official for Saturday's Chivas-Galaxy game took a lot of criticism for his performance, and while I agree that there were a lot of cards handed out, I feel that the three ejections were warranted.

* Paulo Nagamura's first yellow may have been a bit soft but he earned it with his constant yapping and aggressive play before that. He nailed Landon Donovan's ankle from behind, however much Donovan embelished the play afterward doesn't matter.

* Carey Talley took a forearm to the chest from Alan Gordon. That's a yellow, and it was his second.

* Gregg Berhalter dragged Alecko Eskandarian from behind and was the last man standing between Esky and the Galaxy goalkeeper. That's a straight red card in any game from high school to the World Cup.

There have been 31 total red cards this season, and it's a bit head-scratching why there have been so many. Not sure what the solution is to stopping such a high number of cards or if there is one really. Hopefully it's just a trend that will pass soon.

I'll be back later with at least one more troubling early-season trend: low attendance.


Anonymous said...

why don't you write about your trend of always hating on Chivas USA

Anonymous said...

As far as I can tell, there have been only 11 red cards this season, not 31.

Anonymous said...

1:29, we'll see that trend broken when Chivas wins something meaningful.

Even then, it'll be the footnote of a Galaxy article.

L.B. said...

second anon, thanks. I had inserted that figure into my PE story and had it changed, so thanks.

And some of you guys are a little too sensitive about me not being high on Chivas. I wasn't too high on them before the season and so far it looks like they are better than I thought. But calm down. It's four games in, and there's a lot of soccer left to be played. It's not like I was A) the only one who wasn't high on them; B) I had no reason to be high on them (injuries); C) have something personal against them.

Calm down.

scaryice said...

Last year there were 59 red cards in 210 games or .281 per game. It was basically the same rate in 2007 as well (.277). I think the highest it's ever been is .318 in 1998.

This year it's 11/29 = .379 per game. I bet we'll end up around .3 once again.

ryebreadraz said...

Is the increase in red card really a bad thing? In the short term, yes, but I actually like that we're seeing them. MLS refs have let the creative players take a beating for too long and have not punished dangerous play in the past so maybe this is a change in philosophy that players will have to adjust to and in turn, open up the game.

Joe said...

My beef with the official is that he backed himself into a corner by handing out cards early. He knows it's going to be physical so call it close. Not every tackle needs to be a card. Then on top of that, he was totally inconsistent with the cards. Had he been consistent, both Klejstan and Thomas should have been sent off in the first half as well.
The Spaniard who called the Liverpool-Chelsea match yesterday called a beautiful game. He whistled fouls but it was just that, they were fouls not cautions until it was absolutely necessary.

The Hammer said...

It's simple. They're applying the "let them play" philosophy where, in the name of allowing physical play, they let a lot of clear fouls go uncalled and when they do call a foul, it's a HARD foul, and they apply the yellow.

Just call fouls when you see them, stop with the "let them play" philosophy. Yes, it's a man's game, and it's a physical game, but that doesn't mean you have to allow cheating.