28 August 2006

Do Not Hold Your Fire II: Mark Geiger and Ugo Ihemelu

Let's talk about referee Mark Geiger. Dave Lifton, in the SE Podcast, attributes nearly three goals to Geiger [in]actions, and thinks at least two goals were offside (which would really be the fault of the ARs, since they would have the position on such matters). Piotr Nowak intimated in the postgame presser that he wanted MLS to look at the game tape to examine the officiating.

Now, as hypocritical as it may seem given the way I went off on Jair Marrufo, I can't agree that Geiger is most of the reason that we lost the game. In real time, I thought that the PK was the correct call (Perkins I thought didn't get to the ball and just took out the attacker's legs) and that whistling Facundo Erpen for the handball was the correct call as well. The issue on the latter whistle was that while Erpen was sliding and made contact with the ball, and his hands seemed to be a natural position, it looked to me that Facundo adjusted his arm so as the deaden the riccocet off his body. That's handling the ball. So personally, I can't fault Geiger on those calls.

The offside calls, which I haven't been able to see replays of, would be issues with the ARs, but given the way DC's line was so high in the second half, it wouldn't surprise me that those were legitimate runs by LA.

All that being said does not excuse the failure to card Ugo Ihemelu for his tackle on Dominic Mediate. It was a reckless, two-footed challenge that certainly merited a yellow, if not straight red. When you look at the picture Kinney linked to below, you see it's pretty much the picture perfect example of a dangerous tackle. Note how Ihemelu's right leg and left leg are scissoring Mediate's left ankle in the photo. That's pretty much the definition of a reckless tackle. I don't think Ihemelu was trying to injure, but that sort of form made Mediate's broken leg almost an inevitability.

My only explanation for a lack of a card is that somehow Geiger, the AR, and the fourth official all missed the tackle, since anyone looking at it in real time knew it was bad news the moment it happened. Now, I don't want us to turn into FC Dallas fans dealing with O'Brien's leg, but certainly some scorn on Geiger and Ihemelu is earned. MLS should issue a multiple game match ban on Ihemelu, and Geiger should not be allowed in the center of any future DC matches.

However, let's remember that while this was a shocking mistake by the officials, it did not cost us the game. More on that in a bit.

14 Comments:

At 28 August, 2006 12:52, Anonymous Joanna said...

I'm not one to blame a referee for a team losing. That's not the concern here in any way, but the whole reason referees are there is to keep the game safe for the players and that did not happen on Saturday. That is why I have a big problem with this, whereas a blown offside call or something like that is part of life.

 
At 28 August, 2006 13:13, Blogger D said...

Joanna --
I think we're 100% in agreement here. Missing a call that leads to a goal is one thing, but failing to call someone for a tackle that injures a kid's season, a kid who's trying to make a living on an MLS salary, is ridiculous. And sickening.
D

 
At 28 August, 2006 13:52, Anonymous GUTuna said...

Not sure what the second "blown" offside call was, but Kirk was very clearly onside for his run that ended in LD deflecting the 4th goal in off Namoff.

When the ball was played Namoff on the far (right) side kept Kirk on by what appeared to be a couple steps. I was kinda shocked that most in the Nest got so upset as it seemed very clear to me and my neighbor in the 1st row of 232 (right behind). We just shook our heads because we knew he was on.

 
At 28 August, 2006 14:10, Anonymous Anonymous said...

On the Troy Perkins call - I was a little confused (and forgive me I am new to this game) but if the goalie is clearly going for the ball and by way of force or the opposing players movement the ball is riccocheted away and he takes them out how is that penalty kick worthy. No doubt Perkins took that dude out, but it didn't appear to me that it was intentional and penalty worthy. But again I am new at this and still learning how to see the game.

 
At 28 August, 2006 15:15, Blogger D said...

Anon --

Good question. Let me see if I can break it down, since it is something of a judgement call even when examining the laws of the game (under Law 12). A keeper can deliberately handle the ball, and therefore can dive to grab the ball from another player's feet. So it is a form of tackle. Now, I admit I didn't see the play as clearly as I would have liked in real time, but my impression was that before Perkins reached the ball, Kirk tried to nudge the ball around Perkins. The momentum of Perkins dive for the ball doesn't really change direction reacting to Kirk's last touch, it's still more at Kirk's legs than the new location of the ball. So while Perkins gets to the ball first, most of his momentum was at Kirk's legs. Under Law 12, that could be interpreted as direct free kick for an attempt to trip an opponent, which would then make it a PK, even if Perkins got part of the ball first.

 
At 28 August, 2006 18:37, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your indignation seems really misplaced. Ihemelu, as the picture clearly shows, got ball on the tackle. He did not injure Mediate's left ankle, the one you go on about. Mediate fell awkwardly on his right ankle - the one untouched by Ihemelu - as the picture also shows. You're blaming Ihemelu for an injury he did not cause, aside from the fact that coming down from the the tackle is what hurt Mediate. Look at the DC injury report of the surgery if you don't believe me.

 
At 28 August, 2006 19:16, Blogger D said...

Anon--

I don't normally say this, but I will here: That's one of the most stupid things to say. Ihemelu's tackle broke Mediate's leg. While the actual breakage occurs due to the way Mediate hits the ground, the reason he hits the ground that way has everything to do with the way Ihemelu tackles him. No, I wasn't under the impression that Mediate's leg cracked due to Ihemelu's thighs of steel acting as a lobster shell cracker. But Mediate, since he can't fall forward normally due to one leg being pinned, landed in an awful fashion. Ugo has responsibility for that, due to the way he tackled. Consider: If Ugo executes a one legged tackle, does Mediate fall the same way? No, he probably doesn't. He has no way to fall safely once one leg is scissored out. Don't be an idiot.

 
At 28 August, 2006 19:59, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You didn't even seem to know which leg was broken, but I'm the idiot? You didn't mention that Mediate broke his leg on the fall at all. You didn't mention the right leg. That's a big omission, but now you act like it doesn't even matter.

"Ihemelu's right leg and left leg are scissoring Mediate's left ankle in the photo. That's pretty much the definition of a reckless tackle. I don't think Ihemelu was trying to injure, but that sort of form made Mediate's broken leg almost an inevitability."

You go from scissoring to pinning? Look at the photo - there is nothing pinned. Mediate is going through the air. Nothing is holding his left leg down. Broken legs happen from awkward falls all the time.

 
At 28 August, 2006 20:40, Blogger D said...

Anon --

I can't make up my mind if you really have a beef here, or are trying to just be a provocateur, but on the off chance that you're really serious in your argument, let's take it on.

You write:
You didn't even seem to know which leg was broken, but I'm the idiot? You didn't mention that Mediate broke his leg on the fall at all. You didn't mention the right leg. That's a big omission, but now you act like it doesn't even matter.

Okay, first, I probably shouldn't be calling people idiots. But that aside, I still don't think that what I wrote is wrong. Ugo's legs are scissoring the back legs of Mediate. Normally, when faced with a one footed tackle in front of you, or even two feet ahead of the run, you can easily fall foward onto your chest and arms. By scissoring the back leg, Mediate's forward momentum will be halted in midair. That stands to reason. He can't stay on his feet since his right leg can't come back enough. He can't go forward since his left leg has been taken out from him. As a result, his right leg comes slamming back up into himself.

You write:
You go from scissoring to pinning? Look at the photo - there is nothing pinned. Mediate is going through the air. Nothing is holding his left leg down. Broken legs happen from awkward falls all the time.

At the moment in time the photo is snapped, it does seem like the only contact is between Mediate's and Ugo's right ankles. But that ignores the natural momentum of what is going on (Mediate twisting to the left and forward from the impact, and Ugo continuing to the right of the frame). You're right, awkward falls can happen at any time, even with no contact. But the nature of Ugo's tackle meant that an awkward fall is more likely to cause injury. It is patently reckless.

I mean, that's why you can't tackle from a bad angle even if you get the ball. The nature of the impact is more likely to create a dangerous situation. So, for me, I still think Ugo is to blame for Mediate's injury.

There, is that clearer?

 
At 28 August, 2006 23:20, Anonymous Joanna said...

Did anonymous even see what happened? I was all the way in the corner and it was obviously an awful tackle. And anyway, when you tackle someone and cause them to lose their balance and they break their leg when falling it's kind of stupid to say that you "didn't cause" the injury somehow.

Last week there was a fuss about a referee in the EPL who essentially will not be invited to do any more games for them because he failed to properly punish a vicious foul that knocked a player unconscious. The question is does MLS hold their referees to a similar standard. What's the history here, do they usually review such things and take action, or no?

 
At 29 August, 2006 11:13, Anonymous David Lifton said...

D-
I don't recall saying anything about any goals in this game as being offside. I did wonder, however, about whether or not Guevara's goal in the USOC victory was offside, and that I didn't see a good replay to determine it.

On the play, Geiger raised his arms to signify advantage, which means that he saw a foul committed, consulted with the AR, and still chose not to card. Obviously, I have no knowledge of what the AR said to him. Abbey Okulaja was the 4th official, so naturally I can't expect him to have seen anything.

And I should also point out that I did think that Dema should have been sent off for the O'Brien tackle, which, stupidly, wasn't even called a foul. Earlier in that same game, Ryan Suarez threw Quaranta down in the box and no foul was called.

To answer Joanna's question, the referee in that game, Jesse Johnson, had only worked two other MLS games the previous year. He did two more games in 2003 and has yet to call another one.

 
At 29 August, 2006 11:13, Anonymous David Lifton said...

D-
I don't recall saying anything about any goals in this game as being offside. I did wonder, however, about whether or not Guevara's goal in the USOC victory was offside, and that I didn't see a good replay to determine it.

On the play, Geiger raised his arms to signify advantage, which means that he saw a foul committed, consulted with the AR, and still chose not to card. Obviously, I have no knowledge of what the AR said to him. Abbey Okulaja was the 4th official, so naturally I can't expect him to have seen anything.

And I should also point out that I did think that Dema should have been sent off for the O'Brien tackle, which, stupidly, wasn't even called a foul. Earlier in that same game, Ryan Suarez threw Quaranta down in the box and no foul was called.

To answer Joanna's question, the referee in that game, Jesse Johnson, had only worked two other MLS games the previous year. He did two more games in 2003 and has yet to call another one.

 
At 29 August, 2006 13:50, Anonymous Matt said...

I'm not sure why any of you are surprised that US referees allow rough play to go unpunished.

I play in high level amatuer leagues...and see terrible stuff that sometimes isn't called a foul and rarely even when called is carded.

Guys...this refereeing issue is a national thing..not just MLS.

In one tourney we had our best player get tackled from behind..obvious intent to injure. He's on the ground with a broken ankle and the ref is yelling at him to get up because he thought our player was making too much of the foul.

Until the national reffing association gets a clue this crap will keep happening....

Referees in this country can't differentiate between a foul and a foul with intent to injure. Those of us that play a lot have it figured out...since most refs don't play much...they haven't.

Has the MLS suspended the LA wanker yet?

 
At 15 October, 2008 00:06, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mark Geiger fucking sucks. He cost Toronto FC the game last week.

What a putz

 

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