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Ref Watch
August 30th, 2006 12:40AM



Furious was Dominic Kinnear, and justifiably so, after referee Alex Prus ignored a stoppage-time body-block by CD Chivas USA defender Jason Hernandez that thwarted a mazy dribble by Dwayne De Rosario as Houston pressed desperately for an equalizer Sunday at Home Depot Center.

DeRosario jumped just as Hernandez closed in and thus the collision wasn't nearly as violent as it would have been otherwise. Still, DeRosario plunged to the ground as the ball skittered away untouched by Hernandez, yet nothing was called. Prus blew the final whistle a few seconds later on a 3-2 CD Chivas victory.

Kinnear charged onto the field and berated Prus angrily despite being shoved away several times by keeper Pat Onstad, who barked a few comments of his own at Prus before leaving the field.

Which brings to mind the comments of an MLS coach who shall remain nameless, regarding the fuss and hullabaloo regarding penalty kicks called and not called in MLS:

"All of us in this league - coaches, players, writers, you name it - spend way too much time talking about penalties," he said. "A call that's 60-40 one way or the other, hey, those happen in every soccer league and every competition all over the world. It's part of the game.

"But let me tell you something: Unless it's 100 percent a penalty that doesn't get called or, 100 percent not a penalty that does get called, we should all just shut up and do our jobs."

In this case, Kinnear's job was to argue. He had a cast-iron case. But Houston had already been awarded a penalty kick in the first half when keeper Preston Burpo clipped Chris Wondolowski and the keeper's rabid protest might have swayed Prus' subsequent decision, although it shouldn't have.

Kinnear also protested a red card given to Ricardo Clark during a melee. During the scuffle Clark grappled with Sacha Kljestan after the pair battled for a ball and then Clark sent Orlando Perez to the ground with another shove. Prus did not issue any other cards even though more than a dozen players were involved in the melee.

Joseph Ngwenya of the Crew was sent off by referee Shane Moody for grabbing Andy Dorman of the Revs by the throat in New England's 1-0 victory Sunday. Dorman had collided with Crew keeper Bill Gaudette, they scuffled briefly, and as players from both teams swarmed, Ngwenya got his hand to Dorman's throat and pushed him away. Both Gaudette and Dorman were cautioned.

The MLS disciplinary committee has suspended Galaxy defender Ugo Ihemelu for two games and fined him $750 for serious foul play in the Galaxy's 5-2 win against D.C. United Saturday. A tackle by Ihemelu on Dominic Mediate was not punished by referee Mark Geiger, who had cautioned Ihemelu earlier in the match.

GOAL CAM. An early red card to Jack Stewart for flattening John Wolyniec eventually opened the doors for Red Bull New York to power a half-dozen goals past Real Salt Lake keeper Jay Nolly in a 6-0 rout.

In the eighth minute, Stewart barged Wolyniec, who was dribbling toward goal, off the ball without coming close to it. The incident was outside the penalty area and referee Gus St. Silva could have merely cautioned Stewart yet a goalscoring opportunity was clearly denied and he pulled out the red card.

Since Wolyniec is hardly the fleetest forward in the league and was still 25 yards from goal, Stewart had no need to foul. But foul he did.

It took the Red Bulls until early in the second half to break through, and even then Edson Buddle's looping header was cleared from under the crossbar. The ball, however, had landed a foot over the goal line and the officials correctly ruled it a goal.

Replays showed the situation clearly yet it wasn't the easiest call by the officials on the field. Buddle had headed a long diagonal cross from Todd Dunivant over Nolly and the ball had just hit the ground prior to being cleared.

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