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Toronto FC midfielder Michael Bradley rips MLS refs after loss to Sporting KC

07/27/2014 2:14 PM

07/27/2014 2:25 PM

Michael Bradley does not approve of Major League Soccer officiating.

Not after Saturday night.

Toronto FC's prized offseason acquisition ripped into the league's refereeing after Sporting Kansas City handed his club a 2-1 loss Saturday.

"It's by no means an excuse — it was the same for both teams — but the referee was absolutely awful," Bradley said, as quoted by the Associated Press. "The people at the MLS office in New York, when they talk about wanting to improve the league, the first thing that needs to be improved is the refereeing, bottom line.

"That shouldn't come across as sour grapes, because that's just the reality. And it was bad for both teams and I'm sure they're sitting in their locker room saying the same thing to themselves, but they've got three points with them. And that certainly makes it a little easier to swallow."

Sporting KC defeated Toronto FC on an 80th-minute goal from Jacob Peterson, even though the club finished the game down a man. Matt Besler was ejected in the 75th minute for his second yellow card of the match.

Referee Ted Unkel passed out eight yellow cards in the match — five to Toronto FC and three to Sporting KC — but it was a no-call early in the first half that riled up Bradley and Toronto FC manager Ryan Nelsen.

Sporting KC defender Aurelien Collin appeared to nip forward Gilberto's leg on a challenge in the 23rd minute, eliminating a potential goal-scoring opportunity.

"Collin should have been (ejected)," Nelsen said. "... An under-12 ref could have picked that up. That's pretty basic."

Sporting KC manager Peter Vermes — who has voiced his share of displeasure with referee's calls this season — said he had no issues with the officiating during a notably physical match Saturday.

"I thought the referee did a good job tonight. That is my personal opinion. I don't think it was an easy game to ref," Vermes said. "I really liked his management of the game — the things that you can control (like) the ball going out of bounds and the guy trying to steal 15 yards. Those are the things that drive us nuts as coaches — the little calls you might miss or might get —but those things he did a good job of and kept the game going on both sides."

Sporting KC has won five straight road matches to set a new franchise record. It has had a player ejected in three of the five matches.

Collin was ejected in a victory against Columbus last week, only to have the red card rescinded by an appeals committee two days later.

Sporting Club unveiled plans Wednesday to construct a $75 million-plus National Training and Coaching Development Center. The site would include international refereeing training courses.

To reach Sam McDowell, send email to smcdowell@kcstar.com. Follow him at twitter.com/SamMcDowell11.

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