Before the season, the Professional Referee Organization outlined in their 2017 points of emphasis that they’d be less tolerant of dissent from players, coaches and staffers during MLS matches this season.
On Saturday, we saw that new point of emphasis in practice, as a pair of matches were impacted due to officials handing out punishment after instances of dissent. PRO dove deep on both instances in a piece published on their website on Wednesday.
The first offense came on Saturday afternoon in Whitecaps forward Brek Shea was shown a yellow card after clipping defender Nick Hagglund in Vancouver's 2-0 loss to Toronto FC, then responded by saying – and repeating – words of dissent to referee Ismail Elfath, who immediately showed him a straight red card.
The second example happened a few hours later in Salt Lake, where RSL captain Kyle Beckerman was issued a yellow card for dissent after being fouled by Jermaine Jones in the 34th minute of RSL’s 2-1 loss to LA. That caution came back to haunt Beckerman 10 minutes later, when he was shown a second yellow and ejected by referee Sorin Stoica after fouling Galaxy midfielder Joao Pedro.
“Players and referees have a responsibility to show respect to each other,” PRO wrote on their website. “Sanctions for mistimed tackles are understandable and part of the game. However, there can be no justifiable complaint when players put their team in jeopardy when they are sent off as a result of dissent/offensive, insulting or abusive language.”
Additional explanation of both decisions can be found in PRO’s write-up.