Friday, September 14, 2007

No fan of Prus

Thursday's Chivas-Galaxy game wasn't one in which the referee played a big role. The game did not hinge on a late call or non-call, nor did it get completely out of control like the previous one threatened to right before halftime.

But that didn't mean players were completley satisfied with the refereeing. Jesse Marsch was booked three minutes into the match. He got knocked down by Peter Vagenas and, in apparent anger, threw the ball at Vagenas, who then walked over to Marsch and pushed the Chivas midfielder. Marsch got a yellow while Vagenas got nothing.

Marsch was asked about the exchange and though he admitted he shouldn't have thrown the ball but also said referee Alex Prus did not handle the incident properly.

Marsch: A good ref says 'Hey, cut that out. Let's not do that anymore. I know it's an emotional game. Let's calm down and just move on here, okay?' Come together, shake hands, whatever. Or give out two yellows. Whatever. In the end, I shouldn't have thrown the ball so what are you going to do?

Reporter: So you are suggesting that he isn't a good ref?

Marsch: Yes I am. No, but see I like Alex but I'm just not a big fan of him as a referee.

Prus played a big role in a pair of Chivas USA matches in 2006. At Chicago on Aug. 12, Prus did not whistle an apparently obvious foul inside the penatly area suffered by Ante Razov. Instead of a spot kick, play continued and the Fire worked the ball quickly downfield and Chris Rolfe eventually scored the equalizer. Right after the goal, then-Chivas coach Bob Bradley stormed the sidelines. I remember thinking that I hadn't ever seen him that angry. He reminded me of a caged lion. In stoppage time, though, Prus awarded Chivas USA a penalty kick and Claudio Suarez converted to give Chivas USA a 2-1 win.

Later that month, Prus reffed a Chivas-Houston game at Home Depot Center. In the first half, Prus awarded a penalty kick to Houston after what appeared to have been minimal contact by Preston Burpo on Chris Wondolowski. In stoppage time, though, Prus failed to award Houston a penalty kick after what was seemingly apparently a penalty to everyone in the stadium but him. Jason Hernandez chopped down Dwayne De Rosario inside the box but nothing was called. Chivas won 3-2.

Though both those matches went in Chivas' favor, it may have left a bad taste in Marsch's mouth regardless. Or perhaps other games Prus was worked - Chivas or otherwise - have left unfavorable images of the referee to him. Regardless, it must be strong because Marsch, or most players really, don't often lay into a referee as harshly as he did without really being provoked. Credit to Marsch for being honest and saying what other players and coaches probably wouldn't do on the record.

Here's the audio of the above exchange. The reporter is Peter Brown of Champions Soccer Radio.


Matt L said...

I love players giving honest answers to prickly questions, but I have to ask...

Rhetorical question here:

How long until MLS starts regulating interviews, either restricting media access to players, or fining players for saying things about refs, the league, etc?

Maybe they already do and I don't know about it, but it seems like Marsh said some rather blatant, negative things about the ref. Should he be worried about consequences?

Nathan said...

Matt, I was just about to post a comment that said, "Uh oh, Marsch is going to get fined over those comments."

Because coaches and players do get fined for negative comments about the refs.

Doesn't stop the level of reffing in the league being about 2 step below the level of talent now on display.

Along with the insanity of playing so many games next to international dates and playing during the long hot summer, the quality of reffing in the league needs to be in the top 5 of the league's off-year agenda.

Anonymous said...

Having worked with Alex in the very near past I have to say he is a very solid referee, and the game I did was at a high level.. Not the MLS, but as close as you get. So therefore I feel that these verbal attacks are unjustified and should be regulated.

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