Sunday Links and a Word About MLS Officiating.

The officiating in Major League Soccer and a to lesser extent WPS and USL have been horrible this year. This week we have seen four matches arguably decided by poor officials calls in MLS, and two that were most certainly decided by suspect calls. Some theories are abound that both calls were due to MLS’ desire to begin avoiding draws in matches. But the truth is that the responsibility falls with the USSF who trains and maintains the referee pool. MLS is almost an innocent bystander in this.

Last season Toronto FC was denied an opportunity to make the playoffs thanks to several suspect calls. Allegations of anti-Canadian bias which cannot be as easily dismissed as some would like crept up. This season it is just flat out incompetence or too literally applying the “letter of the law” instead of using common sense.

It’s too bad for MLS because they have little control over this, but the continued inept officiating is hurting the league’s credibility. So something has to change and fast.

Johnathan Starling at the Third Half discusses the cup victories of Chelsea and Werder Bremen. Mr. Starling also reports from the Lynch’s Irish Pub Website that,

Nurdin Hrustic won’t be traveling with Lynch’s FC as they enter play in the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup. He’ll be traveling instead to Germany to play with VfL Bochum of the Bundesliga. After nearly three weeks of tryouts with Borussia Dortmund, it took Nurdin only one day at Bochum to make his mark, something no other player has done before in Bochum’s 160 year history. Nurdin played his youth ball with the Jacksonville Jaguars Soccer Club and Wolfson High School. His current clubs were Jacksonville University and Lynch’s FC where he will be sorely missed in their first round game vs Miami FC on June 9. Nurdin will leave for training on July 9. BASL congratulates Nurdin on his well-earned signing and wish him the best of luck this year in Germany”

I’m glad to see that MLS and USL scouts are so hard at work.

Forza Futbol reveals details about the Italian squad the US will face in South Africa.

Greg Manifold who is sitting in for Steve Goff (already in Central America for the US-Costa Rica game) reports Crystal Palace will face their sister club in Baltimore in a July friendly.

Is it time to push the panic button yet for the Puerto Rico Islanders? Maybe not, but a loss today to the last place Minnesota Thunder would be such an occasion.

A retrospective on Steve Nicol’s Liverpool career.