Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Referee Roberto Moreno

Dear Mr. Austin "Jack" Warner,

Since when is it the referee's right to decide the outcome of a match after just 30 minutes? That is essentially what Roberto Moreno did tonight in DC United's match against Cruz Azul. Here's what happened...

In the first 10 minutes of the match, Roberto Moreno issued a yellow card to United goalkeeper James Thorpe for a slide tackle against a Cruz Azul player. No complaints can be made about that call. But in the 30th minute, while expeditiously moving the ball from one side of the line to the other on a goal kick, Thorpe received his second yellow from Roberto Moreno and was ejected from the game. United, while holding on to only slim chances to advance to the next round of the Champions League, saw those chances slip away, as they were forced to play the remainder of the match with only 10 men.

There are several reasons why we believe the second yellow card should not have been issued to James Thorpe:
1. Goalkeepers are allowed to move the ball along the 6 yard line prior to taking goal kicks. If that is somehow against the rules, then multiple yellow cards should be issued to goalkeepers in every match, because that is a fairly frequent practice.
2. It was only the 30th minute of the match, so time wasting was not a concern of either club at that time.
3. Thorpe JOGGED with the ball from one side of the line to the other. He didn't walk. If Thorpe's intention was to waste time, then he would not have jogged.
4. Thorpe had already been issued one yellow card. Referees should be encouraged to use just a bit more discretion in issuing yellow cards if a player has already received one card.
5. Thorpe had not been issued any warnings for time wasting, and had taken every kick prior without any delay.

The only reasons I can think of as to why Roberto Moreno would make such a poorly inclined call are as follows:
1. Roberto Moreno is biased against DC United.
2. Roberto Moreno is biased against all teams from the United States.
3. Roberto Moreno may have forgotten that he had already given a yellow card to Thorpe.
4. Roberto Moreno has not received proper training to be a CONCACAF referee.
5. Roberto Moreno has not received proper training to be a referee of a youth travel league.

Regardless of the explanation, I see no reason why Roberto Moreno should be permitted to officiate any additional games in the CONCACAF Champions' League.

Anyway, I turned off the game in protest and I'm going to bed. I figured it would be a better use of my time to draft a letter to Concacaf than to watch any more of a match with clearly biased officiating. Probably do some player ratings sometime late tomorrow. I'll read the Insider for updates, but based on the first half, I'd say maybe top shelf for Namoff and Thorpe, calls for Miller and Khumalo, and rails for Zaher and Thompson.


R.J. said...

i know this was a while ago, but, he's the same guy who refereed the USA-Mexico game in August '09. if you watched it, you know his quality of discretion.

Alfredo said...

Dear Mr. Shatz

I want to say that although you are entitled to your opinion, your reasoning identifies you as not having been a referee. Time wasting can happen at ANY point in a match. A referee that "uses discretion" before awarding a second card should be immediately disciplined. If a foul warrants or requires a caution, that is the ONLY question that needs answered, not whether it's the first or the second. Same idea as a Penalty Kick. A fould that requires a direct kick to restart the match differs ONLY in LOCATION to a foul that requires a Penalty Kick for a restart.

Roberto Moreno is among the finest officials in Concacaf; his appointments by Concacaf and FIFA clearly demostrate that. That he's tough, absolutely! But you must understand where he was trained and by who. At the time of his appointment to the FIFA Rferee list, Panama had several USSF referees helping with training and refereeing alongside the Panamanian referees. Of those USSF referees, Two have made the USSF national list and one has made the Puerto Rico FIFA AR list. Mr. Moreno is the type of referee that more USSF referees need to emulate. In my 20+ years affiliated with USSF, I have noticed the senior referees getting weaker and flakier. Please remember that all referees assigned to International matches, yes even friendly matches, are assigned by FIFA. I'm sure they kn ow who is good and whose not. Then again, they did assign the Brit that gave 3 cautions, in a World Cup Match, to the sam player and didn't send him off.

Please read the Laws of the game, the Decisions of the F.A. board and all corresponding memoranda before you you make such harsh comments about a professional.

With respect,

Alfredo Del Valle
USSF State Referee Emeritus
Former Panama National Referee
Former Puerto Rico National Referee
Former FIFA AR (Puerto Rico)