Ben Olsen is a feisty bugger, but we’ll have to side with him in an incident that resulted in the ejection of both coaches during D.C. United’s 2-1 loss at Montreal on Saturday night.
First, the scoring roundup:
Marco Di Vaio struck in the 43rd minute.
Conor Doyle equalized in the 81st.
Di Vaio toyed with Dejan Jakovic in the 83rd.
United (3-17-4) remained winless on the road in league play. (But they did score! Just the third time in 12 trips.)
Back to the kerfuffle. On a wayward clearance in the 75th minute, United’s James Riley knocked Justin Mapp into the camera stand between the benches. Impact Coach Marco Schallibaum took exception, crossing midfield and toward referee Ismail Elfath near United’s technical space. As Elfath booked Riley, Schallibaum turned back toward his area.
Irritated by how far Schallibaum had strayed, Olsen began yelling and pointing at his counterpart. Schallibaum spun toward Olsen. Fourth official Silviu Petrescu and United’s John Thorrington intervened to prevent a physical confrontation. As Impact captain Patrice Bernier pulled Schallibaum by the right sleeve of his sport coat, Olsen could be heard saying, “Get the [expletive] back!”
When tempers cooled, Elfath, in apparent consultation with Petrescu, directed both coaches to the locker room. Olsen was baffled why he had been tossed. On his walk to the tunnel, Olsen smiled, nodded and waved his arms repeatedly at Montreal’s supporters’ group behind the goal.
Neither coach addressed the matter in the official quote sheet distributed by the Impact. In a text message, Olsen told me he did not want to comment until Sunday, at the earliest.
Coaching territory was an issue earlier in the match, as well. After being warned by Petrescu not to drift toward the center line, Olsen could be heard on the broadcast saying, in so many words and without venom, “If [Schallibaum] goes there, I’m going to [expletive] go there.”
Aside from the coaches’ behavior, MLS needs to address two issues:
*The technical area and midfield camera seem closer to the sideline at Saputo Stadium than at other venues. Maybe the upper camera angles are deceiving, but players appear in danger of crashing into the benches or other equipment. (Riley’s hard challenge exacerbated this particular situation.)
*Why does Montreal’s TV production crew leave the mic wide-open so close to the benches? The early expletive should have served as a warning.
Olsen and Schallibaum will serve automatic one-game suspensions. Schallibaum, in his first season in Montreal and known as the “Swiss Volcano,” is no stranger to disciplinary action: MLS has already suspended him three times — for allegedly tossing a water bottle or squirting water toward a fourth official; for approaching a referee at halftime; and for stepping onto the field during a match.
In March, Schallibaum was involved in a scrap with an opposing player, Toronto FC’s Richard Eckersley.
Given his history, the league would be justified in extending the latest ban to a second game.
Olsen had a sideline scrap in 2010 — an exchange with Houston’s Dominic Kinnear resulting in dual ejections.
Full video package of the DCU-Montreal match: