L.A. Galaxy players question no-calls by referee on Seattle's Zach Scott
CARSON, Calif. - L.A. Galaxy defender Omar Gonzalez said that during Sunday's Western Conference final first leg match between his squad and the Seattle Sounders, referee Kevin Stott told one of his teammates that he wouldn't hand out a second yellow card to any player during the match, so that they would be assured of playing in next weekend's second leg in Seattle.
The Galaxy won the game 1-0, but took issue with Stott's perceived leniency, especially with regard to Seattle defender Zach Scott. Scott received a yellow card in the 37th minute for a foul on Galaxy forward Robbie Keane. According to statistics compiled by ESPN Stats and Information, Scott committed five fouls for the game, three of which came in the last 10 minutes of the match. Galaxy substitute forward Alan Gordon was on the receiving end of all three.
"It's tough when Stott says to one of your players that he's not going to give another yellow because he wants the best players to play in the next game," said Gonzalez in the Galaxy locker room. " I think it's not his job to focus on the next game. It's his job to focus on the game tonight, the game at hand. For him to say that to one of our players is pretty ridiculous."
Gonzalez's sentiments were echoed by teammate Robbie Rogers, who said he was surprised that Scott didn't get a second yellow for persistent infringement after committing several more clear fouls. "It's an absolute joke," said Rogers.
When told of what Gonzalez said about Stott, Rogers added, "That's just a joke for the league to behave that way."
For his part, Seattle manager Sigi Schmid acknowledged that Scott had caught a break by not receiving a second yellow for persistent infringement.
"We benefited a little bit," he said. "In most games, I think the referee would've pulled out a second yellow."
Peter Walton, the general manager of the Professional Referee Organization, which trains and manages MLS referees as well as assigning them to games, said he knew nothing about Stott's alleged comments. There has been no directive from PRO to the referees to go easy on second yellows, according to Walton.
"There has certainly been nothing coming out of our office saying as such [about second yellows]," Walton said via telephone. "There has been nothing remotely said to any of our referees about that. They should referee the game the same way they did during the regular season. That way there are no surprises.
"I am surprised in fairness, if [Stott] went into a game with that attitude, especially with Kevin being the vastly experienced guy that he is. I'll be interested to see what his take on that is when I speak to him during our post-match debrief during the week."
A total of four yellow cards were handed out in the match, none of which will result in a suspension. The Galaxy and the Sounders are set to meet in the second leg next Sunday at CenturyLink Field in Seattle.