Chivas USA, Jose Luis Real fined by MLS under "mass confrontation" policy

USA TODAY Sports

As expected, Chivas get punished for crowding the ref, but an opponent also sees sanction.

Two disciplinary decisions came down this morning related to Chivas USA, both stemming from the 3-1 loss against the Philadelphia Union last week.

First, Chivas USA were fined $5,000, and head coach Jose Luis Real was fined $1,000, for violating MLS' "mass confrontation" policy, instituted this year. In effect, the policy states that if three or more people related to a team get in a referee's way, argue and yell at him, or verbally or physically threaten or assault him, then the league can take action. As stated in the news article related to the fines, the $5,000 for team/$1,000 for coach penalties are essentially baseline minimums. If teams repeat mass confrontation tactics in the future, the league can increase penalties as they see fit.

Why did Chivas USA actually crowd around the ref in the game? If you didn't see it, referee Jorge Gonzalez called an intentional back pass against the Goats, leading to an indirect free kick that won the game for the Union. Since the incident, the consensus around the league by fans and writers has been that the call was harsh to outrageous, and one can understand why Chivas players were so upset. Still, they were warned prior to the season about the new policy, and I understand the rationale for implementing it, so as to maintain the safety of referees, who may not be attacked in MLS, but who have been attacked, sometimes even murdered, while doing their jobs elsewhere.

The other disciplinary decision that was related to Chivas USA was of Union goalkeeper Zac MacMath. He and Chivas defender Walter Vilchez had a bit of a tussle during a set piece late in the first half, and referee Gonzalez gave Vilchez a yellow card. The 'keeper wasn't punished for swinging his hands and elbows in Vilchez's face, however, and the Disciplinary Committee decided to rectify that, by fining MacMath an undisclosed amount. So he wasn't suspended, but at least he saw some sanction for doing something equally bad, if not worse, than what Vilchez did to tick him off.

And if you are wondering about Gonzalez, after working tomorrow's Toronto FC-New York Red Bulls game he is not assigned for any MLS-related games through the end of the month. However, it's not clear if he was originally going to have this break, or if he's taking a breather after the poor night he had at PPL Park.

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