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Swope Park Rangers and Red Bulls game marred by officiating

The Red Bulls prevail 5-1 after an early red card.

MLS: Real Salt Lake at Sporting Kansas City Scott Sewell-USA TODAY Sports

The Swope Park Rangers played six different Sporting Kansas City players in their starting lineup and the game was looking like it would be hotly contested early.

That is until the ref was consistently inconsistent. He gave left back Alexsander two quick yellow cards and Alex was off in the 27th minute. At that point the game was 1-1. From there it got ugly. You can watch the full highlights below, but let’s focus on the nonsense (for a full mental breakdown by me as it happened, check out all my tweets under the #SPRvNY hashtag which includes lots of gifs).

The first yellow was given to Alex for tugging a jersey. It’s probably the right call, but Sean McSherry of the Red Bulls had literally pulled back Alex’s jersey just a few minutes before without being given a card. As if that wasn’t enough, McSherry threw a stiff arm to the neck of Kuzain a few minutes later. Still no cards for him. Did I mentioned he scored the first two goals and if the game was called consistently he could have been off before his second goal?

Then a few minutes later, Alex got a second yellow card for a poor challenge, but one in which he doesn’t appear to make any contact (though he does stick a leg in). It seems like the sort of play that deserves a warning since McSherry had already gotten two “final warnings.”

The game remained 1-1 for a bit and then flashbacks of Kaku in Children’s Mercy Park rang out as Jared Stroud, well after the play was over, blasted a ball into the stands. Thankfully, due to poorly attended SPR games and USL rules forcing them to play in a stadium that doesn’t make sense, no one was hit. But the ref STILL didn’t give a yellow card.

The ref even says something to Gianluca Busio and Jaylin Lindsey who are rightfully incensed that no yellow is being given. Consistently inconsistent.

Just moments after that, the floodgates opened. The Red Bulls would score twice more before halftime against a 10-man Rangers squad and then two times more in the second half.

The inconsistent handling of cards greatly affected the outcome of the game. It would have been interesting to see if SPR could have handled the 1st place NYRBII with loanees like Botond Barath, Jimmy Medranda, Busio and Lindsey. Instead, the game got out of control as SPR stretched themselves trying to pullback goals while being down a player.

After the game, Paulo Nagamura and his coaches were beyond upset but the ref simply ignores them. To be a fly on the wall for that conversation.

The Rangers are back in action next Sunday (September 1st) against the Philadelphia Union’s USL Championship team the Bethlehem Steel on the road.


Apparently Paulo Nagamura agrees on the bad officiating. Here are his quotes from after the game.

“I saw a call, well numerous calls in the first half that changed the outcome of the game,” Nagamura started. “I think there was a lack of consistency, and not only that, but a lack of respect for all the professionals that were on the field. I can’t say for the New York guys, but I can say from our club it was a lack of respect and unfortunately the number of calls that were made today – it was frustrating because we worked the entire week for this game and to have a guy making those kinds of decisions in a game, and affecting the outcome of the game like he did today was very frustrating and disappointing – not just for a professional coach but for all the players that are inside the locker room right now.”

“We knew coming into the game that we were going to be playing the best team in our conference, and it was going to be a difficult game anyhow. It doesn’t help when you go a man down 25 minutes in. When we were at 11-v-11, I think we were having a good game. We conceded a bad goal on a set piece but we came back and scored a great goal with Wilson (Harris) and I think we were right there. We were playing head-to-head with the best team in the conference and we were in the game. When we went a man down, of course, we have to reshuffle the lineup a little bit and be more conservative because we were a man down, and New York took advantage of their chances.”