Welcome back, Mane Landers! Orlando City plays tonight, and you can check out our preview here. Hopefully the match will be decided by the players, and not someone else. You can most likely guess what the bad will be this week, but I still need to put the work in, so read on!
If for some reason you’re not watching the International Champions Cup (basically Europe’s preseason), then you may have missed the contributions from some of the all-new, hopefully improved USMNT. I’m certain that you’re aware of a young man by the name of Christian Pulisic. Pulisic has been with Bundesliga side Borussia Dortmund for years at this point, and in their match against Liverpool all he did was score a brace. The first was from the spot after he had earned the penalty (22 seconds into the video), and the second was a lovely low shot past Lorius Karius’ outstretched hands in the 89th minute (3-minute mark). Pulisic’s goals gave BVB the win over the Reds.
Tim Weah also impressed in PSG’s 3-1 loss to Bayern Munich. Weah showed plenty of speed, strength, and determination on his breakaway goal in the 31st minute (1-minute mark).
Weah recently stated that he has very humble aspirations. He wants to be the first American to win the Ballon d’ Or. I’m on board with that plan.
It’s not just the offensive-minded players that are making appearances, as FC Dallas loanee Chris Richards made his debut for Bayern Munich. The defender came on at center back in the 62nd minute to help Bayern maintain the 3-1 victory. That’s three young Americans on big-time squads, all making an impact. Well done, lads!
As if there was any doubt, this week’s “bad” is the Professional Referee Organization (PRO). I know that they have come out and admitted that the call against RJ Allen was wrong, but it doesn’t change the fact that goals change games, and Orlando was protecting a lead before the call. Additionally, we know that the only punitive action taken in regards the officials involved is that VAR Jon Freemon isn’t working this weekend. Silviu Petrescu, on the other hand, worked the D.C. United vs. New York Red Bulls match last night. If PRO, and by extension Major League Soccer, is to be taken seriously, they need to do a better job than they’ve been doing. We saw how video review could be implemented effectively in the World Cup. Perhaps the two organizations could take a lesson from FIFA. I never thought I’d say that sentence.
The Orlando Pride have been on the receiving end of a glaringly disproportionate amount of fouls. If you listen to The Mane Land PawedCast, then you know that neither TML Managing Editor Michael Citro nor myself subscribe to conspiracy theories in regards to how refs treat Orlando teams (though, to be fair, they’re making it harder to not believe it). Let’s take a look at the numbers as pointed out by Michael:
Foul call discrepancy over the last three games have been insane:— ManeLandMichael (@ManeLandMichael) July 21, 2018
vs. Seattle: 17-3
at Utah: 16-6
at Houston: 10-2
Those numbers are patently ridiculous, and it’s really only been the last few matches that it’s been that way. I’m not saying that the NWSL refs were great before then, but it certainly seems to be worse now. I don’t think that the Pride are an overly agressive team, at least not like the foul differential would indicate. Tom Sermanni did want to have a more physical squad this season, but this wasn’t what he meant. Obviously some of the calls have been accurate, but to think that Seattle only fouled three times or Houston only fouled two times in 90 minutes is preposterous.
There you have it, folks. I would love to hear what you think of the young USMNT guys plying their trade abroad, though I’m suspecting you’ll have a lot more to say about officiating in regards to Orlando City and the Orlando Pride.