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Cristian Roldan Raises Concerns Against MLS’ Replacement Referees After Seattle Sounders vs Colorado Rapids Draw

Cristian Roldan (Via MLS/Twitter)

Cristian Roldan voiced his frustration regarding the performance of MLS’ replacement referees after the 10-man Sounders drew with the Colorado Rapids on Saturday.

The Sounders were reduced to 10 men in the 57th minute when USMNT prospect Joshua Atencio was sent off for a second yellow card offense. The card was issued more than 30 seconds after the foul occurred, as the referee initially played advantage from what he considered an offense.

Atencio, believing he had made a clean tackle, was sent off at the next stoppage, much to the Sounders’ dismay.

In the 88th minute, the Rapids equalized, leading to further confusion and chaos. Forward Raul Ruidiaz, who had been substituted off, was shown a red card for allegedly entering the pitch while shouting.

However, the red card was reduced to a yellow when the referee apparently pulled out the wrong card.

Seattle Sounders vs Colorado Rapids Draw (Via MLS/Twitter)

Postgame, it was revealed that the yellow card was actually intended for Sounders’ boss Brian Schmetzer, even though it was shown in Ruidiaz’s direction.

Roldan, captain of the Sounders, commented on the replacement referees’ performances over the first four weeks of the season, delivering a damning response.

“We’d love to have those referees (PSRA officials) back, right? We need guys that have experience with us, you know, I can’t talk about certain situations on the field, but – for me – it (performances from the substitute officials) needs to be better.

And again, we understand that there are things these referees are fighting for, we understand that the league has to figure out contract situations with them, or CBA situations with them, but for us… I mean, we need the best quality on the field.

To feel like we could have those most experienced refs… of course we want them on the field.

MLS’ Replacement Referees (Via MLS/Twitter)

“It’s not in our hands unfortunately, but look, we’ll keep preaching that and hopefully they come to an agreement.”

Before the start of the MLS season, the Professional Soccer Referees Association (PSRA), consisting of 260 officials under the Professional Referees Organization (PRO) run by U.S. Soccer, were locked out due to a failure to reach an agreement over a new Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA).

Nearly a month has passed, and four match weeks have been officiated by replacement referees from lower-level divisions.

Roldan’s complaints on Saturday stem from the absence of the regular MLS-caliber officials. From the pitch and the touchline to the VAR room, MLS looks different at the start of the 2024 season.

With MLS continuing through the upcoming FIFA International window, the Sounders will be back in action next weekend, taking on the San Jose Earthquakes in a Western Conference clash.

As for the MLS replacement officials, it remains unclear when the regular referees will return.

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