Sunday's D.C. United match against the Philadelphia Union was refereed by Mark Geiger, who took charge of two men's soccer games during the recent London Olympics. Judging by his performance Sunday, Geiger (whom Wikipedia says is a math teacher at a high school in New Jersey in his spare time) might want to get on the next flight back to London.
In the interest of full disclosure, we should point out that there was a chippiness to this game which would have made it difficult for anybody to have an afternoon completely free of controversy. But there's no denying that Geiger got several key decisions wrong in the second half before finally losing control of the match.
Exhibit B: The penalty. Dwayne de Rosario thinks he's scored to put United in front 2-1. Geiger calls encroachment against Chris Pontius, something which happens on, by our conservative estimate, nine out of every ten PKs at all levels of soccer.
In the ensuring skirmish, United's Branko Boskovic gets himself sent off. Now, pushing and shoving might have resulted even if the penalty had stood, but there's no question that Geiger's decision only added fuel to the fire. Naturally, De Rosario missed the re-take.
Exhibit C: Sending off No. 2. There's a little bit of gray area here. Tackles from behind are rightly frowned upon, and Emiliano Dudar did deserve some discipline. A straight red card, though?
So there you have it. The British would say that Mark Geiger had a terrible day at the office. D.C. United coach Ben Olsen phrased it another way.
Olsen: "It was the Geiger show"— Steven Goff (@SoccerInsider) August 19, 2012
And D.C. United President Kevin Payne had yet another word for it.
Kevin Payne on retaken PK: It's a high school call— Steven Goff (@SoccerInsider) August 19, 2012
Well-respected Sports Illustrated soccer writer Grant Wahl phrased it another way.
Coming off vacation ever so briefly to marvel at the shocker MLS referee Mark Geiger just had in DC-Philly.— Grant Wahl (@GrantWahl) August 19, 2012
Yup, just one of those days.