By John Boyle
Sigi Schmid wasn’t happy with referee Ricardo Salazar following Wednesday’s night’s game, which saw Sounders FC and Real Salt Lake play to a 0-0 tie, and Seattle’s coach made his feelings about Salazar known both during his postgame press conference, and also in comments he made on the TV broadcast at halftime.
Well as it turns out, Major League Soccer wasn’t very happy with Schmid’s unhappiness, or more precisely, his willingness to make it public, and on Friday the league announced that Schmid has been fined $2,000 and suspended one game. A team spokesman said there will be no statement from Schmid or the team on the suspension, but did confirm that Schmid will serve the suspension when Seattle hosts Dallas on Sunday, and that assistant Brian Schmetzer will take over as head coach.
“Sigi Schmid’s comments earlier this week about the officiating were unacceptable,” MLS Commissioner Don Garber said in a press release. “MLS requires that its players, coaches, and club leadership maintain proper respect for the officials at all times.”
Salazar, the same referee who made a couple of questionable calls in Seattle’s U.S. Open Cup final loss to Kansas CIty this summer, was again the center of attention in a Sounders game after he sent off defender Zach Scott 30 minutes into Wednesday’s game. Salazar also failed to award a penalty kick at the end of the first half—and replays showed the no-call was the proper decision—when Sounders players appealed for a hand ball in the box on a Fredy Montero shot.
While doing a brief TV interview on his way off of the field at halftime, Schmid said, “It’s just a nightmare for us when he referees.”
Schmid was also unhappy with Salazar in the second half, first for his decision to award a yellow card and not a red to Salt Lake’s Chris Schuler for a foul on Montero, and at the end of the game for letting the game go, in Schmid’s opinion, longer than it should have. By the end of the game, most of the 38,356 in attendance were chanting, “Salazar sucks!”
Asked about Salazar after the game, Schmid answered:
“I don’t want anymore questions about Salazar, but the thing is, our fans know his name. I don’t think many fans know the name of the referee. I think that’s an indication. How that’s not a red card on Schuler, I didn’t know Borchers was that fast that he was able to get behind him, I thought that was a last man-foul, and it’s not a red card. I’m not going to argue the red card on Scott, but I do have problem when you put two minutes of extra time on and they take the corner at two minutes and thirty seconds at the end of the game, so it’s like, ‘OK, we’re going to give them another chance to score.’ I just thought we were hard done by the officiating all night in certain regards. There was a handball in the box—I haven’t seen the replay, I don’t if that was a hand ball, you guys know better than me—on the one shot that Fredy hit. So that could have been a hand ball. It just seems whenever there is something 50-50, obviously we don’t get the break with him.
Later, while on another topic, Schmid slipped in, “Lord help us if we get Salazar in the playoffs.”
This will be the second time in the franchise’s four-year history that it plays a game without Schmid on the sideline. He missed a game in 2009 for his son Kurt’s wedding, and Seattle came away with a 2-1 victory with Schmetzer filling in as head coach.