Are players getting proper protection from the MLS referees?
That is a widely debatable topic depending on which coach you are talking to and how his club did in the previous game. Some managers are quick to tell you that protection of key players is still fairly weak. Given how physical some matches have been lately in the league, it is hard to argue with them.
After FC Dallas beat the Vancouver Whitecaps 2-0 on Saturday, manager Schellas Hyndman, someone who is always quick to say that his players need more protection offered up his thoughts on how little players are getting protected.
“It is really difficult out there,” said Hyndman. “I think what you are starting to see is a lot of physical play. It is either going no calls. Or the physical plays are getting the calls with no cards. I guess the point is that the players are almost at a point where they are getting a little bit nervous of the physical play. There is no penalty to it. I think it is not just this game but is the way it has been going this year.”
The match ended with nearly 30 fouls combined between the two squads. Vancouver had a couple more as they edged out Dallas 15-12 on what ended up being a physical night. There were only two yellow cards shown on the night too. One to Nigel Reo-Coker and the other to George John.
What are are seeing is more referees pulling players aside to talk things over with them. Seeing fewer cards is nice but protecting players a bit more is the message here.
“It seems to be a lot of consoling,” said Hyndman. “Where referees are talking to players saying ‘okay I’ve had enough, don’t do it any more,’ what we need to do is protect players.”
It wasn’t just the number of fouls on David Ferreira that had Hyndman concerned.
“I don’t care if it is David (Ferreira). I don’t care if it is Camilo from Vancouver. They need to be protected,” said Hyndman.