It took seven games for Chivas USA coach Wilmer Cabrera to let the mild-mannered exterior fall away. And when he went off the script, he did so in a pretty big way.
Following Chivas' 2-1 loss to the Seattle Sounders on Saturday, marked by a massive goalkeeping gaffe by Dan Kennedy and a straight red card to Marky Delgado, Cabrera started spinning some theories that, well, sound pretty conspiracy-tinged.
Blair Angulo reported on Cabrera's remarks following the game on MLSsoccer.com last night, and the boss didn't mince words.
"We don't receive the respect and we don't receive fair consideration from the refereeing," Cabrera told reporters in his postgame press conference. "We know that it's going to be difficult, but even at home, it's the second game we finish with 10 men; that's not right. Every call and every 50-50 call was for the other team.
"[Seattle] are a very good team. They won because they scored two goals and we only scored one, but it's a little bit frustrating with those calls, those issues and that red card. At this point, it's fair to say the players feel that they don't receive respect from the guys in yellow."
Evidently, because Chivas' low status around the league, Cabrera thinks the Goats didn't have a chance on the play that led to Delgado's ejection:
"Both players went for the ball, and because Marky is a young player on Chivas USA, he's taken out," Cabrera said. "It's simple [because] nobody is going to complain or say anything. It's easy to take advantage of us because nobody complains. That's not right."
Finally, Angulo doesn't quote Cabrera, but he explains that the coach provides a possible reason why he believes Chivas aren't getting calls in their favor:
Cabrera suggested that opponents and referees look at Chivas USA without any concern, citing the last year under the current branding as a possible reason. He said his squad head into every game feeling like they can't make any mistakes because they won't get any calls.
I mean...I know there are fans who probably totally agree with Cabrera. I'm not as inclined to believe there's a policy against Chivas, especially when you consider they've had three PK calls in their favor so far this season. Of course, both red cards they've received have been disputed, but do you think Chivas are the only team to think they were unfairly given a red card?
However, there could be a grain of truth to what he's saying, although I still don't think there's a specific policy against Chivas. Not only have retired MLS referees admitted in the past that they give different consideration to star players than non-star players, and let's face it, nobody on Chivas is getting national adidas endorsements or whatever, but New York Red Bulls coach Mike Petke claimed (following the Chivas game, ironically) that the fourth official told him that the refs were cracking down on one of his players, Armando, who had picked up a negative reputation in record time.
Though that article indicates that it's the management body that oversees the MLS officials, PRO, that openly admits to taking player histories into account, and not the league itself, it is possible that PRO has warned officials in recent weeks to really pay attention to Chivas. Chivas are leading the league right now in fouls committed, by a fair margin, so they may not be doing themselves any favors.
Still, the question then becomes: is Chivas inviting extra scrutiny since they are fouling all the time, or are they the victims of over-eager officials who think they can whistle the Goats with little resistance? To my mind, it's probably a bit of both. I'm putting a poll up to see what you think, however.
Meanwhile, Cabrera should expect to receive a fine for his comments, as coaches who allege officiating shenanigans against their team aren't looked upon fondly by the league. We'll keep you posted on any news that comes down regarding that.
What do you think? Leave a comment below!