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ESPN: Referee at RSL game was "worst ... in history."

Published July 5, 2011 8:46 am

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2011, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

I left Rio Tinto Stadium on Monday night thinking it was the worst officiating I'd ever seen at an MLS game. Turns out I wasn't alone.

"I mean, this was the worst refereeing job - definitely this year and probably in history," said ESPN soccer analyst Alexi Lalas. "Absolutely horrible."

The best thing anybody on ESPN could say about the performance of referee Yader Reyes was when Max Bretos said, "He doesn't have a lot of experience and it showed."

Beginning 2½ minutes into the game, when New England was awarded a penalty kick and RSL's Nat Borchers was red-carded.

"It wasn't a foul. It wasn't a red card," Lalas said during halftime of the game that followed on ESPN2.

And it wasn't just calls against Real Salt Lake that were bad. It was officiating all-around at the game that ended a 3-3 tie with the New England Revolution.

Lalas and Bretos seemed to be reaching to find the words to describe just how bad it was.

"When you see (RSL coach) Jason Kreiss on the sideline with his counterpart, (New England coach) Steve Nicol, go over to him after (RSL) has been awarded a penalty kick and propose, 'Why don't we walk off because this is so horrible?' - this is the situation MLS is in right now," Lalas said.

ESPN has spoken.