5th in a row! Rancid ref can't stop Metro in Montreal
May 19, 2012

Montreal New York
Corradi Cooper
05.19.12 · League

You can forgive us for a moment for thinking this was 1996. A huge stadium fill by empty seats, a bouncy turf that has no place in a soccer match, Joe Tolleson in the booth... And terrible, terrible refereeing. All was missing was "El Pitufo" De Avila pouncing on turf bounces and Carlos Queiroz yelling on the sidelines. But no, this is 2012, and this Metro team, unlike the one back then (and many since) seems to thrive even with the bad breaks. So despite the turf, despite the incompetent refereeing, despite a patchwork lineup, despite being down to ten men for most of the second half, Metro scraped through to a 2:1 win over Montreal. It's the team's first five-game winning streak since 2003.

"Clever" Hans Backe decided to insert newly-acquired Heath Pearce straight in the center of the defense, benching Tyler Ruthven. Since Rafa Marquez decided to be injured, his place was taken by Victor Palsson. Mehdi Ballouchy still can't travel outside the US, so Connor Lade started in a new position, left midfield.

Regular readers of our website know that we rarely bash referees. Except for Abbey Okulaja. And Kevin Stott. Those two really suck. But other than that duo, we try to lay off the men in the middle.

We can't do that tonight. For Ismail Elfath, refereeing his first MLS game, proved to be a clueless buffoon. If he wants to stay in soccer, we suggest a position of serving orange slices in pee-wee games. He was that bad.

The initial idiocy came in the 22nd minute. A cross was served by Montreal into the box. Bernardo Corradi jumped into the air, and headed the ball into the arm of S. Markus Holgersson. The vice captain had his back to the striker and could not even see the ball being directed at him. Yet Elfath pointed to the penalty spot without any hesitation, and Corradi converted.

Metro would get one back in the 37th minute, and that one came from the spot as well. This time Elfath elected to ask his assistant referee whether a Dane Richards cross that hit the arm of Tyson Wahl should have been a penalty kick. It was a borderline call at best, and we say that as Metro fans. Nevertheless, a penalty, and Kenny Cooper scored his tenth of the year. We were tied.

Now, not every decision by Elfath was completely obtuse. For example, the second yellow on Palsson for a stupid, needless tackle and midfield was warranted. And Metro was down to ten men.

But tonight, ten proved to be enough. In the 67th minute, Donovan Ricketts parried a Roy Miller cross, and the ball ricocheted straight to an unmarked Richards. The Jamaican blasted his first of the year, and Metro held on the rest of the way. How Elfath let Jeb Brovsky escape with just a yellow on a horrendous, two-footed tackle on Lade is inexplicable.

So this is five in a row, a tremendous streak that has happened in league play only three times in team history (2000, 2001, 2003). So no, this is not 1996...

And we can only hope it ends better than those years.

Lineup: Meara, Miller, Holgersson, Pearce, Barklage, McCarty, Palsson, Lade, Lindpere, Richards, Cooper. Subs: Arteaga.

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