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MLS Loses Credibility with Joseph Suspension

Major League Soccer lost credibility in soccer columnist Frank Dell'Apa's eyes following the suspension of New England's holding midfielder Shalrie Joseph for the home leg of the Revolution's Eastern Conference semifinal against the Chicago Fire. Dell'Apa says referee Tim Weyland handled the situation correctly when he allowed play to proceed after Ivan Guerrero had held Joseph back near the center circle and the midfielder broke free. But Joseph was only able to do so using the aid of his elbow and forearm, after which he made the pass and the play continued. Weyland could have issued a yellow card to both players following the incident, but he must have decided the offenses canceled each other out. To be sure, the Chicago-New England game was a rough contest, and the Joseph-Guerrero incident was just one of several dangerous clashes. How about C.J. Brown's late tackle on Clint Dempsey that led to the winger's departure from the game so he could have x-rays taken on his ankle? At worst, Dell'Apa says Joseph could have been fined after the game for symbolic reasons, but not suspended. Players should definitely be discouraged from throwing around elbows and forearms, but the Revs now suffer the double consequence of having a non-call overruled by the league and having one of their most important players suspended from the biggest game of the season. Salt is added to the wound when you consider that Joseph was shaking off a challenge by Guerrero in which he made no attempt to play the ball. And the league took no action against him.

Read the whole story at ESPN Soccernet »

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