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Hounds 1, Charlotte 3 (Refs 2)

Posted by MJ On 3:23 PM
On Saturday evening the Pittsburgh Riverhounds faithful bore witness to something almost never seen in soccer - near simultaneous red cards given to two players on the same team.

Officially USL records the ejection of Niko Katic in the 51st minute and Jason Kutney's in the 52nd minute. That sort of makes sense on paper but certainly not to the 850 who were in attendance.

Niko's straight red came during a shoving match with a Charlotte player. Referee Jon Safar was out of position to see a Charlotte player push into Katic but he was certainly there to see the retaliation. From where I stood Niko's hand went into the Charlotte player's shoulder and slid towards his throat.

Kutney's red came even before play had restarted. During Katic's plee against the red, Kutney had picked up the game ball. Walking away from the point of Katic's foul, Kutney tossed the ball down. Dropped the ball BEHIND him as he walked. As he walked AWAY from the refs.

That's when the red card came.

The ball bounced away from the point of the foul and someone in yellow and black got in the way. (For sake of clarity here ... Charlotte was wearing blue and the Hounds were wearing white.) The linesman's flag got in the way and he signaled the on field ref. The fourth official who saw all this happening said nothing.

Another red card went up and at that moment the Riverhounds' hope of a playoff position was most certainly taken away.

Never one to shy away from responsibility though Kutney has this to say on the matter.
"I made a silly decision to toss the ball out of play so that Charlotte could not have a quick restart. The ball, however, struck the referee's flag, prompting a decision by the center ref. That decision did not go in my favor, as the toss was interpreted as intentional in the direction of the ref.
"I apologize to the fans and to my teammates. It absolutely kills me to sit out a game, given the energy and passion I put into this club. I plan to contest any decision for longer term suspensions."
As a supporter of the team its almost impossible to put into words the frustration of seeing this type of poor refereeing. For years pundits have complained about the skill level of the referees in MLS. Let me just say this - It's worse down here folks. Much much worse.

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