MLS Disciplinary Committee: The Transparency Of Consistency

Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Another week of Major League Soccer has come and gone and more controversy with the Disciplinary Committee.

You had to see this coming.  You just had to.

As soon as Devon Sandoval was fouled dove in the penalty box and Real Salt Lake promptly scored, you knew the outcries that would be coming from Colorado Rapids fans.  I know that I do write for a Colorado Rapids related blog, and with that comes inherent bias, but Sandoval did take a dive after his altercation with Drew Moor.  No question, no doubt he took a dive.  And you know what?  It worked.  Real Salt Lake got the penalty kick and converted it to take a 2-0 lead that would eventually turn into a 2-1 victory.  Now the debate can be had if the result was justified or not, but the bottom line is that the result was altered by a batch of unsporting and unprofessional behavior by Sandoval.

I am never one to say that one play, one call, one game alters the course of a season.  There are thousands of things that go into results in a match or season and it is not fair to pick one as the reason a team makes or misses the playoffs.  But there will be a damn sour taste in the mouths of Rapids fans if this result does change their playoff fortunes.

After watching the dive a number of times and tweeting about, for which I took a great deal of grief for, (including insulting my alma matter which makes no sense at all) I had assumed that the MLS Disciplinary Committee would show the testicular fortitude to actually do something this time.  I had assumed that after they completely screwed the pooch over the Alan "Elbows High" Gordon-Shane O'Neill incident from their match in Commerce City that they would look at the RSL match and fine Sandoval.  You can't go back and change the result of the match (and again, I am not saying that this is why the Rapids lost).  But you can go back and punish a player who does stuff like this.

And yet the MLS DisCO did nothing.  And it baffles the mind as to why.

I have heard the excuses that the MLS DisCO only reviews plays that are "obvious."  Well, a PK is damn obvious and easy to review.  And there are not that many of them in a weeks time, so how difficult is it to do?  But there is the real dilemma: know one really knows about how the MLS DisCO does things because there is zero transparency and they are consistent only in their inconsistency.

Perhaps, if the MLS DisCO was more forthcoming in how they operated or the thought process as to how decisions are made, MLS fans would not get so pissed.  I could go through a litany of plays and diagram how the committee should have responded, but what is the point?  It is clear that they are not concerned with being transparent or consistent.  They can't be concerned with the integrity of the game, for if they were, stuff like Sandoval diving would be punished.

I don't need referees to be perfect.  They are human and mistakes happen.  That is fine.  But what is the point of having a committee that is "committed" to retroactive punishment when they are afraid to punish?  What is the point of having this committee when they are not willing to act or clear acts of embellishment or diving?  Those two acts harm The Beautiful Game we have here in the United States.  And sadly, the MLS DisCO has the ability to stamp this out, but they do nothing.  And that is the real tragedy in their lack of transparency and consistency.

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