At least we're not talking about the actual game

So all the little notes I had typed up for my quick 'n dirty overview of The Paul & Not Hall Show have been overtaken a little by events, but nevertheless.

I should feel like a fool for failing to connect the podcasts at the front of US Soccer's website with the Referee Programs page, but oddly enough I don't. They probably mentioned the two were linked in some earlier podcast, which I missed.

It's still useful to listen to the podcasts, even if for the moment the written reports go into more detail. I had thought the big news in the week six report was the admission that, well, maybe Real Salt Lake shoulda won their game against Los Angeles, what with Deuchar being onside and all. If RSL misses the playoffs by two points, we'll know why. In the podcast, Tamberino and Alfred Kleinaitis make a point of saying that the wrongly disallowed RSL goal is an example of AR's needing to "wait and see" before making the call. In Paul 'n Hall's written report (Hall was absent for the podcast, credited for the written report), it's more straightforwardly reported as a good old fashioned blown call.

Here are a couple of relevant quotes, widely spaced apart but I think they're about the same subject:

To a certain extent, there is a point of diminishing returns here. I've harped on this elsewhere, but the job description for referees demands the combination of an athlete's stamina and a sniper's eyesight. That's a tiny percentage of the population.

There's also really nothing anyone can do about blown calls, except weed out those who make an unacceptable percentage of them. Human error is going to be a part of the game, and so will bad decisions. Yes, Real Salt Lake should have had that goal, but they also had a two-goal lead and bungled it. (Before I forget - I'm not terribly sympathetic about RSL trying to pretend after the fact that they thought Beckham's second goal was an indirect free kick.)

Yet, this here is just astonishing:

Oh. Well...that's weird. You'd think this would be a lot closer to 50-50 than 100%. Apparently we really do have an institutional issue with over-anxious AR's, more willing to make a mistake that keeps the status quo than a mistake that completely changes the game.

This bothered me more than it should have:

Remind me why videotape can't be used in this sort of situation. This is bureacratic frippery at its worst - if players can (and should) be retroactively sanctioned for their barbarism and/or idiocy, so can coaches.

Which brings us to John Carver, who, we can see, had plenty of warning about the league's attitude towards Earl Weaverism. Carver was "singled out" last week, but so was a white blob identified as a New England assistant (Paul Mariner?), and in terms at least as harsh. Carver was also being, let's face it, a big baby about it.

Now, since Carver is actually doing a fine job so far with Toronto this year, his threat to leave is marginally less empty than it looks on the surface. That doesn't excuse his inability to conceive of a middle ground between Bud Grant and the Tasmanian Devil.

It's possible that Carver is being extremely clever about this - deflecting criticism about his team's unholy play in an important game. I'm filing some of this, along with his attack of the vapors regarding Mr. Barros, as "working the refs for future games." After all, the more you scream about diving, the less you hear about hacking. As soon as the Tories get a player with Schelotto's skill, official TFC opinion may change.

And, of course, "the refs are against us, but we'll persevere" is a tactic just a tiny bit older than when Jason Kreis used it last week. Carver's only mistake was to say "I" instead of "we" - but, he's a rookie coach, he'll learn some of these nuances down the road.

Unless he quits in midseason because Mauricio Navarro was mean to him, of course.