CARSON, Calif. -- The use of replacement officials was a major plot line heading into the first week of MLS action, but according to the LA Galaxy, they made little impact on their 1-0 defeat to Real Salt Lake.
Replacement head referee Javier Santos and his officiating crew called a total of 42 fouls during the match while also issuing five yellow card cautions. The most scrutinized calls came late in the second half when an RSL goal by Luke Mulholland was negated due to assistant referee Jose Da Silva signaling from an offside on the play. Santos made another key call in the dying moments of the match, when he signaled for a Galaxy penalty due to a foul by an RSL defender on LA forward Rob Friend that was ultimately saved by RSL’s Nick Rimando.
Following the match, Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena labeled the officiating "pretty good" noting that he was pleased with the referee’s performances in each of the matches that he observed on Saturday. He wasn't alone in that sentiment after the final whistle.
"I thought they actually did well to be honest with you," said Galaxy captain Robbie Keane. "The first half especially they did very well. In the second half, there were a few things here or there, which is to be expected. Overall, I thought it was pretty good."
However, Landon Donovan was quick to note that there were some differences from the usual way that MLS matches are officiated.
"I thought that they did a pretty good job, but the only difference is they don't understand our league and how it plays," said Donovan. "I thought there were too many fouls called. They should have let the game go more, but overall, it wasn't a bad job. However, we certainly hope that we get our refs back because we under estimate how good they've become and we want them back as soon as possible.”