Well wasn't that a fun weekend soccer fans. I suppose it all depends on your rooting interest and perspective but for the managing editor of a Houston Dynamo fan blog and an Everton fan, this Monday is just plain crummy. Even the brilliance of Barcelona against Racing Santander couldn't cheer me up that much, though they were rather brilliant.
From a Dynamo perspective, Saturday's 3-0 loss in Colorado was another disappointment in what has become a frustrating and disappointing season. I don't believe anyone had any issue with Lovel Palmer's red card but it was pretty clear to everyone watching the match that serial dirty play artist Pablo Mastroeni should have seen red as well. Unfortunately the four sets of eyes that it needed to the clearest to, Abiodun Okulaja, Anthony Vasoli, Peter Balciunas and Alejandro Mariscal, completely missed Maestroeni's kick out at Palmer and only saw the reaction.
This is fairly typical in sports, in that the one who starts the confrontation rarely is punished. It's generally the one who reactions to the provocation who is dealt the harshest penalty. This is Palmer's second ejection in less than a month but in his defense, the first that was likely warranted. The real blow from the ejection is that Palmer will miss two games, one for a call-up to the Jamaican National Team and a second to service his red card suspension.
If there is any justice, MLS will review the play and give Mastroeni a one game suspension as well. Of course, the chances of this happening of slim to none.
Is Palmer at fault? Sure, he retaliated, but he is definitely not to blame for the overall result. USSF's referees and officials are borderline incompetent, especially Okulaja who has a long and sordid history of making an ass of himself. Palmer will have to learn to control his emotions knowing the referee's general propensity to miss key elements of these kind of situations. The Rapids were just faster and hungrier on Saturday and while being a man down didn't help, it was clearly going to be a tough night for the Dynamo either way.
The loss is a painful one but it's not the end of the world. The playoffs are a little more out of reach but good things are on the horizon for the Dynamo with all the buzz of a January designated player signing and the official groundbreaking on the new stadium hopefully set to occur before the end of the calender year.