If you happen to be a Sounders fan or anyone who knows a Sounders fan, you probably already know who they hate with the passion of a thousand burning suns. This fiery hatred is directed towards
Picture if Ed Hochuli switched from football to futbol and became hispanic. There, that's pretty much all you need to know. In recent years, Sounders fans have grown to hate this man due to his constant bias against Seattle during our games that he refs. Now, I know the league rotates which refs we get at our games, but it really does seem like every other week has Ricardo's name written on the scorecard. This, however, is not true. He has only managed to meddle in six of our games this season (five MLS games and one US Open Cup final which shall never be mentioned again).
In our most recent outing, the Sounders played to a nil-nil draw with the Lakers of Real Salt and happened to have a few controversial calls/no calls for and against Seattle. Some examples of these are as follows:
- Two weak yellow cards accumulating for a 30' red for Zach Scott.
- A yellow when Shuler took down Montero as the last man
- No hand ball called inside the box against RSL
Let's start at the end. No hand ball was called when Fredy crossed the ball across the box. This was a good call no matter how many people were screaming for the call. The defender's arm was against his body and was incidental contact. Good job, Salazar. Next, in the second half, Fredy was taken down by Schuler during a break away. Schuler was the last man back (Borchers was a yard or two behind Fredy) and he was awarded a yellow when the rules state that a red should have been given. Good try, good effort, Salazar. Third, Zach Scott was given a delayed yellow near the beginning of the game (10') for stabbing for a ball and catching a little of Espindola's feet. This was not a yellow. Maybe it would warrant a verbal caution, but nothing serious should have came from this. In the 30th minute, Scott came in with a tackle on Morales and knocked the ball away but Salazar deemed this worthy of a second yellow because Morales ran into Scott and embellished the fall. Hey, Salazar, go f... yeah, I'll keep this clean.
This was the last straw for me. I decided to take to the inter google and Excel to make my judgement on Salazar and his bias. Disclaimer: I'm heading into this with the starting view that Salazar hates everything about Seattle, including Pike Place Market and the Space Needle.
I'm going to be formulating my opinion based off of three websites: refrefs.com (this site tracks different refs and how they award fouls and cards to teams compared to the team averages), football-lineups.com (this site shows lineups for a bunch of games and allows you to sort by ref), and good old mlssoccer.com (the super official MLS website).
ProcedureFrom the three websites I listed in the previous section, I will gather information about fouls called against the Sounders and see how that total compares to the expected amount of fouls based on the lineup. I calculated the average number of fouls committed by each player per minute by dividing fouls committed by minutes played (numbers from mlssoccer.com) and assigned each player their FC/M number. Next, I created lineup cards for each game that included starters and subs and how many minutes they played (info from football-lineups.com). The next step is multiplying FC/M by minutes played for each player and then summing the results to find how many fouls we should expect from the lineup. Doing this is especially important, in my opinion, for the Sounders since we use so many different lineups. An example of this would be if Tiffert or Evans were on the field. Tiffert is 5th highest on the team in FC/M (0.02 FC/M) while Evans is 22nd (0.006 FC/M). If both players were to play a full 90, we would expect Tiffert to account for 1.8 FC and Evans to only contribute 0.54 FC.
The next step is to assign each game to the official that was head ref for the game and then average the difference between actual fouls called and expected fouls called for each ref.