Guardiola’s All-Star antics more proof that Major League Soccer referees are clearly minor league

GuardiolaNorth American football fans have been painfully aware of dysfunctional Major League Soccer officiating since the league first kicked off in 1996.
The level of play in the MLS may have greatly improved since its inception but on Wednesday in Portland MLS referee Jair Marrufo showed the rest of the world why inconsistent and incompetent refereeing is clearly holding the league back.
A usually easy-going Bayern Munich coach Pep Guardiola couldn’t contain his emotions and frustration with Marrufo and his officiating crew after some terrible errors in his team’s 2-1 loss in Wednesday’s MLS All-Star game in Portland, Ore.
Guardiola was so incensed after the match that he refused to shake hands with opposition coach Caleb Porter and stormed off the field in a second half punctuated by several heated arguments with the MLS officiating crew.
Guardiola did offer a token handshake to the Marrufo and his assistants after the match but it was clear he was  not impressed.
German international halfback Bastien Schweinsteiger entered the game in the 80th minute as a substitute but would leave the field moments later after a reckless late challenge by Canadian international midfielder Will Johnson.
Johnson received a yellow card on the play, and the incident had Guardiola off the bench in one of his many heated discussions with match officials.
MarrufoAt one point in the second half, after a series of physical tackles by his opponents, Guardiola lost control on the touchline and had to be held back by the fourth official who ordered him back to his bench.
Guardiola’s biggest reason to complain with the refereeing occurred when Seattle Sounders’ Osvaldo Alonso committed a horrendous foul on Xherdan Shaqiri midway through the second half.  His late slide tackle brought his opponent to the ground as a quiet hush enveloped Providence Park.
It seemed an automatic that the MLS All-Stars would be reduced to ten men.
Marrufo could have easily issued a red card for the foul, but this decision would have put a damper on a match which was supposed to be just an international friendly.The more sensible decision by the referee would have been to order Alonso off the field for the foul and force the MLS team to make a substitution. Though it would be a contravention of the regular rules it was only an exhibition match with unlimited substitutions and this could have easily defused the situation.
Unfortunately Marrufo chose to do neither and only issued a yellow card for the foul which further enraged Guardiola and the Bayern bench – and justifiably so.
The match left a bad taste in the mouths of most who watched the game. Unfortunately the focus of post-match coverage by the flag-waving pro-MLS biased ESPN broadcast crew was focused more on Guardiola’s emotions and poor sportsmanship  instead of the real issue which was horrible officiating. MLSnoFriendliesAfter the match Oswaldo was asked about the brutal foul and his response was “there are now international friendlies,“ in an attempt to prove his brutal tackle was justified. Instead of just leaving this alone, Major League Soccer media relations staff chose to publicize and glorify this foolish comment via twitter further proving it is an organization run by amateurs. Unfortunately this latest refereeing episode has clearly damaged the reputation of the MLS and may discourage future European champions from considering playing in future All-Star matches.  Your author was late at posting this blog and watched the match on delay because he clearly treats the league as a low priority, despite having worked as a reporter for the league for two seasons and having made several contributions to its website in the past. The outcome of this match clearly proves while the league may have major-league players it is unfortunately being held back by minor league officials and administrators who lack any real football culture or vision.