Walton: MLS refs are more consistent on red cards

There has been the perception that MLS referees are issuing more red cards than in the past and for less serious infringements. PRO general manager Peter Walton says the number of red cards has indeed slightly increased but for a reason -- referees are doing a better job of applying the rules.

“Nothing has changed in law,” Walton said in a conference call with reporters. “Nothing has changed in the way that PRO wants the game to be played or officiated. What has changed is that our referees are much more consistent in the law that we want them to apply.”

After 42 games, 16 red cards have been issued, up from 14 in 2015 and 11 in 2014. Walton said that MLS referees failed to call 28 percent of red card offenses during the 2015 season. So far in 2016, only 15 percent of such incidents have not been corrected punished.

When evaluating serious foul play, Walton said MLS referees are considering (1) the speed of the challenge, (2) the force of the tackle, (3) whether it was with a straight leg or two legs, (4) the distance of the player's leg off the ground and (5) where contact was made on the opponent.

Higher red card rates will continue, Walton said, until players modify their behavior.

"What I do expect," he said, "are players to just have in the back of their mind that they shouldn't make such challenges because they stand the risk of seeing a red card."
6 comments about "Walton: MLS refs are more consistent on red cards".
  1. :: SilverRey ::, April 8, 2016 at 9:24 a.m.

    There are very few red cards that I have seen so far this year that I wouldn't agree with.

  2. Ginger Peeler, April 8, 2016 at 11:18 a.m.

    But what has happened to our World Class referee, Mark Geiger? He has been average, at the very best, when calling MLS games! Pro Soccer seems to have taken our best referee and brainwashed him. Shame!!!

  3. Scott Johnson, April 8, 2016 at 2:13 p.m.

    I've seen a few yellows that should be reds (as well as a few no-calls, though in the latter case the ref might not have seen the play clearly), but I can't think of any reds this year that were obviously issued in error.

  4. R2 Dad, April 8, 2016 at 4 p.m.

    I haven't seen all the reds issued this season but what I did notice from the handful of clips I saw was that they're in the middle of the pitch--not last-ditch defending. Poor decision-making and behavior on the part of players that can be revised. Never thought I would say this but, well done Walton!

  5. milton stevens, April 8, 2016 at 7:47 p.m.

    refs are consistent with fixing. one fix for every game.

  6. R2 Dad, April 12, 2016 at 3:34 p.m.

    Well, that didn't last very long. Last weekend's referee performances were wobbly at best. The Revs/DC United game had several game-changing calls/non-calls, though they weren't of the Red Card variety.

Next story loading loading..

Discover Our Publications