Nobody ever wants the referee to be the star of a match, but on Saturday in Montreal, the referee was certainly the star. Ismail Elfath, working his very first MLS match, was awful at Olympic Stadium and stole headlines, which actually might be a good thing because both the New York Red Bulls and Montreal Impact were pretty poor. Still, the Red Bulls will be happy to have won, 2-1, and Elfath will be happy that this day is over.
First, Elfath whistled Markus Holgersson for a handball in the box despite it coming off of a head that was a foot behind Holgersson and the ball striking him on the back of the arm without it affecting the play at all. Bernardo Corradi was only too happy to take the penalty anyways, slotting it home for the lead.
15 minutes later, Elfath struck again, but this time for New York. He whistled Tyson Wahl for a handball despite Wahl being in a slide and the arm not far from his body. Elfath didn't care and neither did Kenny Cooper, who buried his spot kick.
The one thing that Elfath did get right was sending off Victor Palsson. He showed the Red Bulls player an early yellow card for a really poor tackle and then sent him off just before the hour mark when he was late and clumsy with another tackle. The second yellow card wasn't for the most malicious of tackles, but Palsson had been walking the tight rope all match.
Of course, when given the chance to level up the numbers, Elfath didn't. Jeb Brovsky had a terrible tackle on Connor Lade, coming in late and putting his studs right on Lade's shin for a textbook red card, except to Elfath. The referee somehow only showed Brovsky a yellow.
New York wasn't bothered by being down a man, though. Dane Richards netted the winner when he hopped on a rebound given up by Ricketts to make Montreal the loser. At least they have company with Elfath, though.